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

If you’re getting ready to go on vacation, your feelings might focus on packing your suitcase and ensuring any travel arrangements are in order. But you'll also want to prepare the house for you being gone as well.

One common question people share is this: What will I need to set my thermostat to while on vacation? Your intention might be to reduce costs, but don’t be tempted to completely turn off your HVAC system. The furnace or air conditioner should still run a little to minimize severe heat or cold, depending on the season. Here’s what you need to consider about setting your thermostat when you leave on vacation.

Adjusting the Thermostat for a Summer Vacation

If you’re taking a trip at the pinnacle of summer, you should expect the temperature inside your house to increase as it gets hotter outside each day. If you don't have air conditioning, the temperature can easily surpass 90 degrees inside—not good news if you’re concerned about sensitive items.

A good rule of thumb is to raise the thermostat 5 to 10 degrees warmer than you usually do during the day without going over 85 degrees. This is a great compromise between conserving energy and protecting the interior of your home.

If you prefer a programmable or Wi-Fi thermostat, keep in mind that a “temporary” hold is supposed to continue your standard schedule at the next programmed time. So you have to select the “permanent” or “vacation” hold setting when you're on vacation to ensure your desired temperature sticks.

Setting the Thermostat for a Winter Vacation

To identify the best thermostat setting when traveling in the winter, use the same means suggested above, but in the opposite direction—that is, change the temperature 5 to 10 degrees lower than you usually do over the course of the day without falling below 60 degrees.

The most important reason to continue heating your home while you’re away is to prevent frozen pipes. Your plumbing that runs near exterior walls and through unfinished spaces is the most at risk. Holding the temperature at 60 degrees or higher lowers this risk. Another great idea is to leave the cupboard doors open to help warm air flow around the pipes beneath the kitchen and bathroom sinks. You may also want to turn off the water at the main shut-off valve to protect against a plumbing disaster while you’re away on vacation.

Preparing a Smart Thermostat Before Going on Vacation

If you don’t already own a Wi-Fi or “smart” thermostat, this may be a great time to upgrade. The latest upgrades in thermostat systems provide outstanding benefits, both while you’re at home and on vacation.

For instance, you can follow up on the temperature remotely using your tablet or smartphone. Verify how often the AC or furnace has been running in your absence as it holds the temperature you set before you left. If you’re concerned with what you see, you can change the thermostat from wherever with your internet-enabled device. You can even set a comfortable temperature that will resume when you’re just about an hour away from home.

For even greater peace of mind, Wi-Fi thermostats warn you of unforeseen environmental variations, like a higher-than-expected temperature or increased moisture while you’re out of the house.

Other Vacation Recommendations

Keep these factors in mind to ensure your home is good to go before going on your trip:

  • Consider any delicate paintings, electronics or houseplants that may be vulnerable to hot or cold temperatures.
  • If you’re leaving pets at home or have planned to have a house sitter visit, you might want to leave the temperature about normal—such as 80 degrees in the summer and 65 degrees in the winter—so the home is comfortable enough for them.
  • Shut your blinds and drapes to help keep the hot sun or cold winter air away from your home. This also helps with privacy since it stops prying eyes from looking inside while you’re gone.
  • Arrange for HVAC maintenance before you leave to ensure your system runs correctly and is unlikely to experience any issues while you’re away.

Call Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning

Whether you have thermostat-related questions or are wanting to request HVAC maintenance before your upcoming vacation, the HVAC experts at Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning are here to help. We can recommend a new thermostat for your needs and even install it and teach you how it works. Our services include all your HVAC needs, from maintenance and repair to installation and replacement. Call us today to share questions or request a visit from one of our qualified heating and cooling technicians.

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