Can I Leave My AC Off When on Vacation?

Going on a much-needed vacation is something to look forward to, but it also comes with a dilemma for many homeowners: should you turn off your air conditioning (AC) unit or leave it running while you’re away? Will turning it off help you save energy costs, or will leaving it on guarantee an efficient temperature control when you return? In this article, we will explore the advantages and disadvantages of turning off your AC when on vacation, how it can save you money, and guidelines on preparing your HVAC system before leaving your home.

Five Reasons Why Turning Off Your AC When on Vacation Can Be Beneficial

Turning off your air conditioning unit while on vacation can be beneficial for the following reasons:

Reason 1: Lower Energy Bills

When you’re away on vacation, turning off your AC unit prevents it from running unnecessarily for days. This results in significant energy savings, which translates into lower energy bills.

Reason 2: Extended Lifespan of Your AC Unit

Constantly running your AC unit can lead to premature wear-and-tear, reducing its lifespan. Turning it off on vacation allows it to rest and prolongs its operational life.

Reason 3: Reduced Risk of Leaks and Damage

AC units typically have a condensation/water management system, which can malfunction due to extended periods of inactivity. Turning off the AC unit during vacation prevents water backup from condensation and minimizes the potential for water damage or mold growth.

Reason 4: Improved Indoor Air Quality

Turning off your AC unit on vacation promotes better indoor air quality. Continuous use invites dust, allergens, and pollutants to build up, which you and your family breathe in. Reduced use can help improve the air quality in your home during peak allergy seasons.

Reason 5: Reduced Carbon Footprint

As an environmentally-conscious homeowner, turning off your AC unit while on vacation helps reduce your carbon footprint. It reflects a conscious effort to minimize energy usage and help reduce the environmental impact on the planet.

How Turning Off Your AC Can Save You Money on Your Next Vacation

The energy savings from turning off your AC unit can be significant, and the money saved can contribute towards your vacation expenses. Whether it’s upgrading your plane tickets, funding additional family activities, or trying new restaurants, the extra money can enhance your vacation experience.

As an example, imagine that you save $100 by turning off your AC for a week while on vacation. This money can cover a day trip to a nearby beach resort, a treat-focused day in a theme park or can be used to rent equipment for an outdoor activity like paddleboarding or SCUBA diving instead.

The Pros and Cons of Leaving Your AC On When Going on Vacation

While turning off your AC unit while on vacation has several advantages, it also has some potential drawbacks. Here are some pros and cons of leaving your AC unit on when you’re away:


  • Climate control: Leaving the AC running ensures constant temperature control while you’re away, minimizing humidity and temperature fluctuations.
  • Home security: Leaving the AC running gives the impression that someone is at home, which can deter potential intruders.
  • Potential malfunctions: Unforeseen issues can arise while the AC unit is off, leaving you with damage or malfunctions to address when you return home.


  • Higher energy bills: Leaving the AC on while you’re away significantly increases your energy bill, especially if you’re gone for an extended period.
  • Reduced lifespan of your AC: Continuous use of the AC unit puts stress on the machine and shortens its lifespan.
  • Increased risk of water damage: Leaving the AC on during your absence poses a potential risk of water backup from condensation or leaks, leading to costly damage or mold growth.

How to Prepare Your Home’s HVAC System Before Going on a Vacation

Before leaving for vacation, you need to prepare your HVAC system to ensure your home is in good condition when you return. Here are some steps to follow:

  • Adjust your thermostat: Set your thermostat 5-10 degrees higher than your usual setting to preserve energy while you’re away. Some smart home technology can automate this process for you.
  • Clean your home: A clean home will help promote better air quality, and you won’t return to a dusty or musty home.
  • Inspect your HVAC system and filters: Change the air filters, and remove any debris around your AC unit. Schedule a maintenance appointment with an HVAC technician to check your unit’s performance before you leave.
  • Unplug any electronics: Unplugging electronics and appliances can help lower your energy consumption levels, reducing the risks of an electronic surge or electrical fire.
  • Shut curtains or blinds: Close the blinds and curtains in your home to enforce the AC’s cooled state. This will prevent sunlight’s natural heat from getting in and creating a greenhouse effect.

Keeping Your Home Comfortable and Energy-Efficient While on Vacation: Tips and Tricks

While turning off your AC unit when vacationing offers savings, other tips and tricks can help make your home energy-efficient while you’re away and promote comfort. Here are some suggestions:

  • Use ceiling fans: Fans promote air circulation, making your home feel cooler and more comfortable. Set them to rotate counter-clockwise to push air downwards and create a breeze effect.
  • Close off rooms: Close interior doors to unoccupied rooms or spaces to allow cooled air to remain focused and circulated in occupied spaces.
  • Plant shade trees: Strategically planting trees around your home can help block direct sunlight’s heat entry into your home, reducing your cooling needs, and ultimately improving energy efficiency.
  • Invest in a smart thermostat: A smart thermostat helps automate temperature maintenance, using daily routines to power the AC up or down as required.
  • Install a programmable timer: Setting lights, electronics, or outdoor fixtures on a timer can help save energy while accentuating any security features you have on your property to discourage potential intruders from entering.


Turning off your AC while on vacation can bring significant savings and environmental benefits. Other options are also available if you prefer to maintain a constant temperature in your home while away. However, it’s essential to take the necessary steps to prepare the HVAC system before leaving and invest in ways to maintain energy efficiency, comfort, and security in your home. If you have additional tips or experiences you’d like to share, please leave them in the comments section below.

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By Happy Sharer

Hi, I'm Happy Sharer and I love sharing interesting and useful knowledge with others. I have a passion for learning and enjoy explaining complex concepts in a simple way.

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