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Q&AZ: When you go away on vacation, should you turn off your air conditioning?

Through our Q&AZ reporting project, a listener asked: When you go away on vacation, should you turn off your air conditioning?

Nathan Morey with SRP said that especially considering how hot Arizona can get, turning the AC off is not recommended.

“Temperatures get very high here,” Morey said. “Those can be amplified inside the home if the AC is off. And then as we move into the monsoon season that additional humidity can also do damage.”

Morey said SRP recommends setting the thermostat no higher than 85 degrees.

Sarah Noll with APS said to also take into account any pets, plants or furniture that could be damaged by the heat.

“All things considered, we recommend setting your air conditioning between 85 and 90 degrees,” Noll said. “That way you’re not cooling a house that’s empty while you guys are away.”

And Noll said even before then, there are ways to ensure the home doesn’t get too hot while you’re away.

“The first step is trying to keep the hot air out from getting into your house,” Noll said.

Noll and Morey both recommend taking measures like closing curtains and blinds. Morey also recommends adjusting your water heater to a slightly lower temperature and setting any lights you plan to leave on to a timer.

Smart thermostats are also dually recommended for better managing your AC no matter where you are.

Kirsten Dorman is a field correspondent at KJZZ. Born and raised in New Jersey, Dorman fell in love with audio storytelling as a freshman at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication in 2019.