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

If you’re preparing to leave for vacation, your thoughts might focus on packing your suitcase and making sure all travel arrangements are ready to go. But remember to prepare the house for your time away as well.

One typical question people have is this: What should I adjust my thermostat to while I'm gone? Your hope will often be to reduce costs, but don’t be tempted to completely turn off your HVAC system. The furnace or AC unit needs to run a little to prevent excessive heat or cold, depending on the season. Here’s what you should learn about setting your thermostat when you are gone on vacation.

Preparing the Thermostat for a Summer Vacation

If you’re traveling at the pinnacle of summer, you should expect the temperature inside your house to increase as it gets hotter outside each day. With no air conditioning at all, the temperature can quickly surpass 90 degrees inside—not exciting news if you’re stressed about delicate belongings.

A good rule of thumb is to adjust the thermostat 5 to 10 degrees higher than you typically do throughout the day without exceeding 85 degrees. This is an ideal compromise between saving energy and protecting your home’s interior.

If you have a programmable or Wi-Fi thermostat, remember that a “temporary” hold is supposed to return to your standard schedule at the next programmed time. So you have to try the “permanent” or “vacation” hold setting when you're on vacation to see to it that your chosen temperature sticks.

Setting the Thermostat for a Winter Vacation

To figure out the perfect thermostat setting when traveling in the winter, implement the same method 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 under 60 degrees.

The most important reason to continue heating your home while you’re on vacation is to prevent frozen pipes. Any plumbing that runs along exterior walls and inside unconditioned spaces is at risk. Holding the temperature at 60 degrees or higher decreases this risk. Another wise idea is to leave the cupboard doors open to help warm air flow 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 prevent a plumbing emergency while you’re gone.

Setting a Smart Thermostat Before Taking a Vacation

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

For example, you can check on the temperature remotely using your tablet or smartphone. Determine how often the AC or furnace has been running in your absence as it holds the temperature you decided on before you left. If you’re unhappy with what you find, you can control the thermostat from wherever via your internet-enabled device. You can even set a comfortable temperature that will 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 changes, such as a higher-than-expected temperature or increased moisture while you’re away from home.

Additional Vacation Recommendations

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

  • Remember any delicate paintings, electronics or houseplants that are vulnerable 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 close to normal—such as 80 degrees in the summer and 65 degrees in the winter—so the environment is comfortable enough for them.
  • Close your blinds and drapes to help keep the hot sun or cold winter air away from your home. This is also a good idea if you want privacy because it prevents prying eyes from peering inside while you’re away from home.
  • Arrange for HVAC maintenance before you head out to make sure your system works properly and is unlikely to encounter any trouble while you’re gone.

Call Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning

Whether you need to address thermostat-related questions or are wanting to request HVAC maintenance before your next vacation, the HVAC professionals at Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning are here to support you. We can recommend a new thermostat for your needs and even install it and teach you how to make the most of its features. Our services encompass all your HVAC preferences, from maintenance and repair to installation and replacement. Call us today to raise questions or set up a visit from one of our qualified heating and cooling technicians.

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