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  4. ALA State of the Air 2021: 7 Tips to Prepare Your Indoor Air Before Vacation
  • 7 Tips to Prepare Your Indoor Air Before Vacation

    Between booking flights and packing bags, don’t forget about optimizing your home’s indoor air quality while you’re away.

    The pre-vacation checklist can feel overwhelming. Pack your bags? Check. Book your flights? Check. Make sure the security system is set? Check. But what about your home’s indoor air quality? Locking up your doors and windows for a week or so can lead to stagnant air and a musty-smelling house. Before you relax on the beach, hit the road for a family reunion—or even leave on a business trip—take these steps to ensure your home feels fresh and comfortable upon your return.

    • Adjust the temperature on the thermostat

      Of course you want to come back from vacation to a comfortable-feeling home, but there’s no need to run the AC or heat around the clock when you aren’t there. Program your thermostat to 85 to 90 degrees if it’s summer, or lower it to 60 to 65 degrees in the winter. If you can, shut it off completely for a few hours at a time.1 This will reduce your energy costs and give your HVAC unit a break, since the closer your interior temperature is to the outside, the less work it has to do.

      Set the HVAC fan to “auto”

      While you’re programming the thermostat, make sure the HVAC fan is set to auto. The fan will only run when the unit is actively heating or cooling air until the desired temperature is reached (as opposed to being on 24/7, no matter the temperature). This circulates the indoor air and prevents it from becoming stagnant, while also keeping energy efficiency in mind.

      Schedule an HVAC inspection

      You’ve already spent a chunk of change on your vacation—the last thing you need is for your HVAC unit to break down while you’re gone. If it’s been 12-plus months since your last inspection, get one scheduled before you leave.2 A professional will be able to spot any potential issues before they become big problems.

      Change your HVAC air filter and monitor it while you’re away

      Your HVAC unit’s air filter should be swapped out at least every three months to maintain peak performance. If you know you’re going to be out of town and unable to check the filter in-person, install a Filtrete™ Smart Air Filter, which connects to the Filtrete™ Smart App via Bluetooth®. The app provides filter life tracking and air quality information—no matter where you are in the world.

      Use a room air purifier

      Complement the hard work of your HVAC system’s air filter with a Filtrete™ Smart Air Purifier, which automatically monitors and purifies the air in rooms up to 310 square feet. When you’re on your way home, you can turn on your Smart Air Purifier from the Filtrete™ Smart App, so you can come home to fresher air.

      Run an extra dehumidifier

      Your HVAC unit is designed to help regulate the level of humidity in your home (which should ideally fall between 30 and 60%).3 But if you live in an especially damp and humid area, it may be beneficial to run a standalone dehumidifier while you’re on vacation to avoid coming home to musty, stale air—or worse, mold buildup caused by excess moisture.

      Install an air freshener

      Do your future self a favor: Before leaving for vacation, outfit your air filter with a Filtrete™ Whole House Air Freshener, which uses your home’s HVAC system to distribute fragrances to multiple rooms. When you walk through the front door, you’ll be greeted by a scent (like Seaside Mist) that almost makes you feel like you’re back on vacation. Almost.

      Sources

      1. https://www.energy.gov/articles/askenergysaver-saving-energy-during-summer#:~:text=When%20leaving%20on%20vacation%20%2D%2D,it%20off
      2. https://www.energy.gov/energysaver/heat-and-cool/heat-pump-systems/operating-and-maintaining-your-heat-pump
      3. https://www.epa.gov/mold/brief-guide-mold-moisture-and-your-home