What Should I Set My Thermostat to When I'm on Vacation?

If you’re planning to leave for vacation, your mind might lean toward packing your suitcase and making sure all travel arrangements are in order. But remember to prepare the house for you being gone as well.

One frequent question people have is this: What can I set my thermostat to while on vacation? Your hope may be to conserve energy, but try and avoid completely turning off your HVAC system. The furnace or air conditioner needs to run a little to prevent extreme heat or cold, depending on the season. Here’s what you need to consider about setting your thermostat when you are gone on vacation.

Preparing the Thermostat for a Summer Vacation

If you’re on vacation at the peak of summer, you can expect the temperature inside your house to rise as it gets warmer outside each day. If you don't have air conditioning, the temperature could easily surpass 90 degrees inside—not exciting news if you’re worried about sensitive items.

A good guideline is to increase the thermostat 5 to 10 degrees warmer than you normally do over the course of the day without exceeding 85 degrees. This is the perfect compromise between saving energy and protecting your home’s interior.

If you prefer a programmable or Wi-Fi thermostat, remember that a “temporary” hold is supposed to resume your standard schedule at the next programmed time. So you should select the “permanent” or “vacation” hold setting when going out of town to make sure your chosen temperature sticks.

Preparing the Thermostat for a Winter Vacation

To determine the best thermostat setting when taking a trip in the winter, implement the same technique recommended above, but in reverse—that is, adjust' the temperature 5 to 10 degrees cooler than you generally do throughout the day without dropping below 60 degrees.

The biggest reason to keep your home warm while you’re on vacation is to minimize the risk of frozen pipes. Any plumbing that runs against exterior walls and in unfinished spaces is exposed to freezing. Holding the temperature at 60 degrees or higher lowers this risk. Another smart idea is to have the cupboard doors open to help warm air flow around the pipes under the kitchen and bathroom sinks. You might also want to turn off the water at the central shut-off valve to prevent a plumbing disaster while you’re gone.

Preparing a Smart Thermostat Before Leaving for Vacation

If you don’t already have a Wi-Fi or “smart” thermostat, this can be an ideal time to upgrade. The latest innovations in thermostat systems provide fantastic benefits, both while you’re at home and away.

For instance, you can check on the temperature remotely using your tablet or smartphone. Figure out how often the AC or furnace has been active in your absence as it sustains the temperature you chose before you left. If you’re unsatisfied with what you see, you can control the thermostat from wherever with your internet-enabled device. You can even set a comfortable temperature to resume when you’re about an hour away from home.

For even greater peace of mind, Wi-Fi thermostats alert you of sudden environmental variations, such as a higher-than-expected temperature or increased moisture while you’re gone.

More Vacation Recommendations

Keep these components in mind to see to it that your home is good to go before leaving on your trip:

  • Remember any delicate paintings, electronics or houseplants that are susceptible to extreme temperatures.
  • If you’re leaving pets at home or have planned to have a house sitter visit, you may want to leave the temperature closer to normal—such as 80 degrees in the summer and 65 degrees in the winter—so the conditions are comfortable enough for them.
  • Close the blinds and curtains to help keep the hot sun or cold winter air out of your home. This is also a good idea if you want privacy because it keeps prying eyes from looking inside while you’re absent.
  • Schedule HVAC maintenance before you head out to make sure your system operates efficiently and is unlikely to suffer from any problems while you’re out of town.

Get in Touch with Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning

Whether you have thermostat-related questions or are looking to request HVAC maintenance before your next vacation, the HVAC pros at Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning are here to help. We can suggest a new thermostat for your needs and even install it and show you how to use it. Our services include all your HVAC preferences, from maintenance and repair to installation and replacement. Call us today to raise questions or request a visit from one of our certified heating and cooling technicians.

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