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

If you’re preparing to take a vacation, your mind might lean toward packing your suitcase and making sure all travel arrangements are in order. But you'll also want to prepare the house for your departure as well.

One typical question people ask is this: What should I adjust my thermostat to while on vacation? Your hope 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 prevent severe heat or cold, depending on the season. Here’s what you need to consider about setting your thermostat when you are gone on vacation.

Adjusting the Thermostat for a Summer Vacation

If you’re taking a trip at the peak of summer, you should expect the temperature inside your house to increase as it gets hotter outside each day. Without air conditioning, the temperature could easily top 90 degrees inside—not happy news if you’re concerned about sensitive items.

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

If you own a programmable or Wi-Fi thermostat, don't forget that a “temporary” hold should return to your standard schedule at the next programmed time. So you need to use the “permanent” or “vacation” hold setting when going 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, follow the same method suggested above, but in reverse—that is, set the temperature 5 to 10 degrees lower than you normally do during the day without falling lower than 60 degrees.

The most significant reason to continue heating your home while you’re on vacation is to avoid frozen pipes. Any plumbing that runs alongside exterior walls and through unconditioned spaces is the most at risk. Keeping the temperature at 60 degrees or up lowers this risk. Another great idea is to leave the cupboard doors open to help warm air move around the pipes beneath your kitchen and bathroom sinks. You will also want to shut off the water at the central shut-off valve to avoid a plumbing disaster while you’re gone.

Adjusting a Smart Thermostat Before Leaving for Vacation

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

For instance, you can check in on the temperature remotely via your tablet or smartphone. Find out how regularly the AC or furnace has been running in your absence as it maintains the temperature you chose before you left. If you’re unsatisfied with what you discover, you can adjust the thermostat from anywhere using 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 greater peace of mind, Wi-Fi thermostats warn you of unexpected environmental changes, like a higher-than-expected temperature or excessive moisture while you’re gone.

Additional Vacation Recommendations

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

  • Don't forget about any delicate paintings, electronics or houseplants that may be sensitive to hot or cold temperatures.
  • If you’re leaving pets at home or have arranged 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 home is comfortable enough for them.
  • Close any window treatments to help keep the hot sun or cold winter air away from your home. This is also a privacy measure that stops prying eyes from peering inside while you’re absent.
  • Schedule HVAC maintenance before you go to ensure your system works correctly and is unlikely to suffer from any issues while you’re away.

Get in Touch with Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning

Whether you have thermostat-related questions or are wanting to arrange for HVAC maintenance before your tropical vacation, the HVAC pros at Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning are here to help. We can point you to a new thermostat for your needs and even install it and show you how it works. Our services include all your HVAC requirements, from maintenance and repair to installation and replacement. Contact us today to share questions or set up a visit from one of our qualified heating and cooling technicians.

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