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

If you’re preparing to take a vacation, your feelings might drift to packing your suitcase and making sure all travel arrangements are in place. But don’t forget to prepare the house for your time away as well.

One frequent question people ask is this: What should I set my thermostat to while on vacation? Your plan may be to save money, but you'll still want to avoid turning off your HVAC system. The furnace or AC unit still needs to run a little to minimize extreme heat or cold, depending on the season. Here’s what you have to know about setting your thermostat when you leave for vacation.

Adjusting the Thermostat for a Summer Vacation

If you’re traveling at the pinnacle of summer, you can generally expect the temperature inside your house to increase as it gets warmer outside each day. Without air conditioning, the temperature could rapidly exceed 90 degrees inside—not happy news if you’re worried about sensitive belongings.

A good guideline is to raise the thermostat 5 to 10 degrees higher than you typically do throughout the day without going over 85 degrees. This is the perfect compromise between saving energy and protecting your home’s interior.

If you own a programmable or Wi-Fi thermostat, remember that a “temporary” hold should return to your regular schedule at the next programmed time. So you have to select the “permanent” or “vacation” hold setting when going on vacation to make sure your desired temperature sticks.

Setting the Thermostat for a Winter Vacation

To decide the ideal thermostat setting when on vacation in the winter, implement the same means recommended above, but in reverse—that is, change the temperature 5 to 10 degrees cooler than you usually do during the day without slipping under 60 degrees.

The biggest reason to heat your home while you’re on vacation is to avoid frozen pipes. Your plumbing that runs near exterior walls and through unheated spaces is the most at risk. Holding the temperature at 60 degrees or higher lowers this risk. Another great idea is to keep the cupboard doors open to help warm air move around the pipes underneath your kitchen and bathroom sinks. You may also want to turn off the water at the main shut-off valve to avoid a plumbing crisis while you’re gone.

Setting a Smart Thermostat Before Taking a Vacation

If you don’t already own a Wi-Fi or “smart” thermostat, this may be an ideal time to upgrade. The latest enhancements in thermostat technologies feature fantastic benefits, both while you’re at home and away.

For instance, you can check on the temperature remotely via your tablet or smartphone. Find out how regularly the AC or furnace has been turning on in your absence as it holds the temperature you chose before you left. If you’re unhappy with what you discover, you can adjust the thermostat from wherever using your internet-enabled device. You can even set a comfortable temperature to resume when you’re close to an hour away from home.

For even better peace of mind, Wi-Fi thermostats notify you of unexpected environmental shifts, such as a higher-than-expected temperature or excess moisture while you’re out of the house.

Other Vacation Recommendations

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

  • Don't forget about any delicate paintings, electronics or houseplants that could be sensitive to hot or cold temperatures.
  • If you’re leaving pets at home or have planned to have a house sitter stop by, you might want to leave the temperature about normal—such as 80 degrees in the summer and 65 degrees in the winter—so the environment is comfortable enough for them.
  • Shut the blinds and curtains to help keep the hot sun or cold winter air out of your home. This is also a privacy measure that keeps prying eyes from taking a look inside while you’re absent.
  • Request HVAC maintenance before you leave to make sure your system runs properly and is unlikely to suffer from any issues while you’re gone.

Contact Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning

Whether you want to ask thermostat-related questions or are wanting to schedule HVAC maintenance before your upcoming vacation, the HVAC professionals at Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning are here to assist. We can point you to a new thermostat for your needs and even install it and show you how to make the most of its features. Our services cover all your HVAC requirements, from maintenance and repair to installation and replacement. Contact us today to share questions or request a visit from one of our qualified heating and cooling technicians.

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