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 seeing to it that any travel arrangements are ready to go. But remember to prepare the house for you being gone as well.

One typical question people share is this: What will I need to set my thermostat to while on vacation? Your hope might be to save money, but try and avoid completely turning off your HVAC system. The furnace or AC system needs to run a little to minimize excessive heat or cold, depending on the season. Here’s what you have to know about setting your thermostat when you leave for vacation.

Setting the Thermostat for a Summer Vacation

If you’re traveling at the peak of summer, you can generally expect the temperature inside your house to rise as it gets warmer outside each day. Without air conditioning, the temperature could easily exceed 90 degrees inside—not exciting news if you’re stressed about fragile possessions.

A good suggestion is to increase the thermostat 5 to 10 degrees higher than you ordinarily do during the day without going over 85 degrees. This is the perfect compromise between conserving energy and protecting everything inside your home.

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

Adjusting 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, change the temperature 5 to 10 degrees colder than you normally do over the course of the day without dropping lower than 60 degrees.

The most important reason to continue heating your home while you’re on vacation is to avoid frozen pipes. Your plumbing that runs near exterior walls and inside unfinished spaces is the most at risk. Holding the temperature at 60 degrees or higher decreases this risk. Another wise idea is to have the cupboard doors open to help warm air move around the pipes underneath the kitchen and bathroom sinks. You will also want to turn off the water at the central shut-off valve to prevent a plumbing disaster while you’re away on vacation.

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 advancements in thermostat technology feature fantastic benefits, both while you’re at home and on vacation.

As an example, you can check in on the temperature remotely with your tablet or smartphone. Determine how often the AC or furnace has been active in your absence as it maintains the temperature you decided on before you left. If you’re unhappy with what you see, you can change the thermostat from wherever 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 better peace of mind, Wi-Fi thermostats alert you of unexpected environmental shifts, such as a higher-than-expected temperature or increased moisture while you’re out of the house.

More Vacation Recommendations

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

  • Don't forget about any delicate paintings, electronics or houseplants that could be sensitive to extreme temperatures.
  • If you’re leaving pets at home or have planned to have a house sitter visit, 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 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 taking a look inside while you’re gone.
  • Request HVAC maintenance before you go to make sure your system operates efficiently and is unlikely to experience any issues while you’re out of town.

Call 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 pros at Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning are here to help. 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 cover all your HVAC requirements, from maintenance and repair to installation and replacement. Call us today to ask questions or request a visit from one of our certified heating and cooling technicians.

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