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

If you’re planning to leave for vacation, your thoughts might focus on packing your suitcase and seeing to it that any travel arrangements are in place. But you'll also want 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 I'm gone? Your intention might be to save money, but you'll still want to avoid turning off your HVAC system. The furnace or AC system should still run a little to minimize extreme heat or cold, depending on the season. Here’s what you need to learn about setting your thermostat when you are gone on vacation.

Setting 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 warmer outside each day. Without air conditioning, the temperature may quickly top 90 degrees inside—not good news if you’re stressed about delicate possessions.

A good suggestion is to adjust the thermostat 5 to 10 degrees higher than you ordinarily do throughout the day without exceeding 85 degrees. This is the perfect compromise between saving energy and protecting your home’s interior.

If you have a programmable or Wi-Fi thermostat, remember that a “temporary” hold should continue your regular schedule at the next programmed time. So you need to try the “permanent” or “vacation” hold setting when you're on vacation to make sure your chosen temperature sticks.

Preparing the Thermostat for a Winter Vacation

To figure out the ideal thermostat setting when traveling in the winter, implement the same method recommended above, but in the opposite direction—that is, set the temperature 5 to 10 degrees lower than you generally do during the day without falling lower than 60 degrees.

The most significant reason to keep your home warm while you’re away is to minimize the risk of frozen pipes. Any plumbing that runs near exterior walls and through unfinished spaces is exposed to freezing. Keeping the temperature at 60 degrees or higher lowers this risk. Another smart idea is to leave the cupboard doors open to help warm air flow around the pipes underneath your kitchen and bathroom sinks. You will also want to shut off the water at the primary shut-off valve to avoid a plumbing disaster while you’re away.

Preparing a Smart Thermostat Before Taking a Vacation

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

For instance, you can follow up on the temperature remotely with your tablet or smartphone. Find out how often 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 unhappy with what you see, you can adjust the thermostat from anyplace via your internet-enabled device. You can even set a comfortable temperature that can resume when you’re just about an hour away from home.

For even more peace of mind, Wi-Fi thermostats alert you of sudden environmental shifts, such as a higher-than-expected temperature or increased moisture while you’re away from home.

Other Vacation Recommendations

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

  • Consider any delicate paintings, electronics or houseplants that could be susceptible to high or low temperatures.
  • If you’re leaving pets at home or have planned to have a house sitter visit, you may 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 any window treatments to help keep the hot sun or cold winter air away from your home. This is also a privacy measure that prevents prying eyes from taking a look inside while you’re away from home.
  • Arrange for HVAC maintenance before you go to ensure your system operates efficiently and is unlikely to encounter any issues while you’re out of town.

Contact Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning

Whether you need to address thermostat-related questions or are hoping to schedule HVAC maintenance before your next vacation, the HVAC experts at Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning are here to support you. We can point you to a new thermostat for your needs and even install it and teach you how to use it. Our services include all your HVAC goals, from maintenance and repair to installation and replacement. Get in touch with us today to raise questions or request a visit from one of our qualified heating and cooling technicians.

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