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

If you’re getting ready to leave for vacation, your thoughts might lean toward packing your suitcase and making sure any travel arrangements are in place. But you'll also want to prepare the house for your departure as well.

One typical question people share is this: What will I need to adjust my thermostat to while I'm gone? Your intention may be to reduce costs, but you'll still want to avoid turning off your HVAC system. The furnace or air conditioner should still run a little to minimize extreme heat or cold, depending on the season. Here’s what you need to consider about setting your thermostat when you leave for vacation.

Preparing the Thermostat for a Summer Vacation

If you’re on vacation at the pinnacle of summer, you can generally expect the temperature inside your house to go up as it gets hotter and hotter outside each day. Without air conditioning, the temperature may quickly surpass 90 degrees inside—not good news if you’re stressed about sensitive belongings.

A good suggestion is to raise the thermostat 5 to 10 degrees warmer than you normally do over the course of the day without going over 85 degrees. This is the perfect compromise between saving energy and protecting everything inside your home.

If you prefer a programmable or Wi-Fi thermostat, don't forget that a “temporary” hold is supposed to continue your regular schedule at the next programmed time. So you need to select the “permanent” or “vacation” hold setting when you're on vacation to make sure your chosen temperature sticks.

Setting the Thermostat for a Winter Vacation

To identify the ideal thermostat setting when on vacation in the winter, implement the same method proposed above, but backward—that is, adjust' the temperature 5 to 10 degrees colder than you generally do during the day without dropping lower than 60 degrees.

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

Adjusting a Smart Thermostat Before Taking a Vacation

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

For example, you can follow up on the temperature remotely with your tablet or smartphone. Determine how frequently the AC or furnace has been turning on in your absence as it holds the temperature you decided on before you left. If you’re not happy with what you find, you can control the thermostat from anyplace with your internet-enabled device. You can even set a comfortable temperature that can resume when you’re about an hour away from home.

For even better peace of mind, Wi-Fi thermostats alert you of unexpected environmental variations, like a higher-than-expected temperature or excess moisture while you’re gone.

Other Vacation Recommendations

Keep these things in mind to make sure your home is good to go before departing on your trip:

  • Remember any delicate paintings, electronics or houseplants that may be sensitive to hot or cold temperatures.
  • If you’re leaving pets at home or have decided to have a house sitter come by, you might want to leave the temperature close to normal—such as 80 degrees in the summer and 65 degrees in the winter—so the conditions are comfortable enough for them.
  • Shut your blinds and drapes to help keep the hot sun or cold winter air out of your home. This also helps with privacy since it keeps prying eyes from peering inside while you’re away.
  • Request HVAC maintenance before you head out to ensure your system works properly and is unlikely to experience any problems while you’re away.

Contact Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning

Whether you have thermostat-related questions or are looking to schedule HVAC maintenance before your next 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 demonstrate how to use it. Our services encompass all your HVAC needs, from maintenance and repair to installation and replacement. Contact us today to share questions or set up a visit from one of our experienced heating and cooling technicians.

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