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

If you’re planning to leave for vacation, your feelings might drift to packing your suitcase and ensuring all travel arrangements are in place. But you'll also want to prepare the house for you being gone as well.

One typical question people ask is this: What can I adjust my thermostat to while I'm gone? Your goal might be to save money, but try and avoid completely turning off your HVAC system. The furnace or AC system still needs to run a little to minimize extreme heat or cold, depending on the season. Here’s what you should know about setting your thermostat when you are gone on vacation.

Adjusting the Thermostat for a Summer Vacation

If you’re on vacation at the height 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 could easily exceed 90 degrees inside—not exciting news if you’re worried about sensitive belongings.

A good rule of thumb is to increase the thermostat 5 to 10 degrees higher than you ordinarily do during the day without exceeding 85 degrees. This is a great compromise between conserving energy and protecting your home’s interior.

If you prefer a programmable or Wi-Fi thermostat, keep in mind that a “temporary” hold should return to your typical schedule at the next programmed time. So you have to use the “permanent” or “vacation” hold setting when going on vacation to see to it that your chosen temperature sticks.

Setting the Thermostat for a Winter Vacation

To figure out the best thermostat setting when taking a trip in the winter, implement the same technique recommended above, but in reverse—that is, adjust' the temperature 5 to 10 degrees lower than you usually do throughout the day without falling lower than 60 degrees.

The most significant reason to heat your home while you’re on vacation is to avoid frozen pipes. Any plumbing that runs near exterior walls and inside unheated spaces is exposed to freezing. Holding the temperature at 60 degrees or warmer reduces this risk. Another great idea is to keep the cupboard doors open to help warm air circulate around the pipes under your kitchen and bathroom sinks. You may also want to turn off the water at the primary shut-off valve to prevent a plumbing disaster while you’re gone.

Setting a Smart Thermostat Before Taking a Vacation

If you don’t already have a Wi-Fi or “smart” thermostat, this may be an ideal time to upgrade. The latest upgrades in thermostat systems provide fantastic benefits, both while you’re at home and on a trip.

For instance, you can check on the temperature remotely using your tablet or smartphone. Determine how often the AC or furnace has been active in your absence as it maintains the temperature you set before you left. If you’re concerned with what you see, you can adjust the thermostat from anyplace with your internet-enabled device. You can even set a comfortable temperature that will resume when you’re just about an hour away from home.

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

More Vacation Recommendations

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

  • Consider any delicate paintings, electronics or houseplants that can be vulnerable to extreme temperatures.
  • If you’re leaving pets at home or have decided to have a house sitter visit, 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 the blinds and curtains 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 taking a look inside while you’re gone.
  • Arrange for HVAC maintenance before you leave to ensure your system runs efficiently and is unlikely to encounter any issues while you’re gone.

Get in Touch with Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning

Whether you need to address thermostat-related questions or are looking to schedule HVAC maintenance before your tropical vacation, the HVAC professionals 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 teach you how to make the most of its features. Our services encompass all your HVAC goals, from maintenance and repair to installation and replacement. Contact us today to ask questions or request a visit from one of our qualified heating and cooling technicians.

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