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 your travel arrangements are in order. But you'll also want to prepare the house for your time away as well.

One common question people have is this: What should I set my thermostat to while on vacation? Your goal will often be to conserve energy, but try and avoid completely turning off your HVAC system. The furnace or air conditioner still needs to run a little to prevent severe heat or cold, depending on the season. Here’s what you should consider about setting your thermostat when you leave on vacation.

Preparing the Thermostat for a Summer Vacation

If you’re taking a trip at the peak of summer, you can generally expect the temperature inside your house to rise as it gets warmer outside each day. With no air conditioning at all, the temperature could quickly surpass 90 degrees inside—not exciting news if you’re stressed about delicate items.

A good suggestion is to increase the thermostat 5 to 10 degrees warmer than you usually do throughout the day without going over 85 degrees. This is a great compromise between reducing energy and protecting everything inside your home.

If you own a programmable or Wi-Fi thermostat, remember that a “temporary” hold should continue your typical schedule at the next programmed time. So you have to select the “permanent” or “vacation” hold setting when going out of town to see to it that your chosen temperature sticks.

Adjusting the Thermostat for a Winter Vacation

To figure out the perfect thermostat setting when traveling in the winter, implement the same means proposed above, but in reverse—that is, adjust' the temperature 5 to 10 degrees cooler than you usually do throughout the day without slipping lower than 60 degrees.

The most important reason to heat your home while you’re out of town is to avoid frozen pipes. The plumbing that runs alongside exterior walls and in unconditioned spaces is the most at risk. Keeping the temperature at 60 degrees or higher lowers this risk. Another great idea is to have the cupboard doors open to help warm air circulate around the pipes under your kitchen and bathroom sinks. You might also want to turn off the water at the central shut-off valve to prevent a plumbing emergency while you’re gone.

Adjusting a Smart Thermostat Before Taking a Vacation

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

For example, you can check in on the temperature remotely using your tablet or smartphone. Determine how frequently the AC or furnace has been turning on in your absence as it sustains the temperature you decided on before you left. If you’re unsatisfied with what you see, you can control the thermostat from anyplace via 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 greater peace of mind, Wi-Fi thermostats warn you of sudden environmental changes, such as a higher-than-expected temperature or excess moisture while you’re away from home.

Other Vacation Recommendations

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

  • Remember any delicate paintings, electronics or houseplants that are vulnerable to extreme 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 environment is comfortable enough for them.
  • Close 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 stops prying eyes from peering inside while you’re gone.
  • Arrange for HVAC maintenance before you go to ensure your system runs correctly and is unlikely to suffer from any problems while you’re gone.

Contact Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning

Whether you have thermostat-related questions or are hoping to arrange for HVAC maintenance before your next vacation, the HVAC professionals at Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning are here to assist. We can recommend a new thermostat for your needs and even install it and demonstrate how to use it. Our services cover all your HVAC goals, from maintenance and repair to installation and replacement. Call us today to ask questions or set up a visit from one of our qualified heating and cooling technicians.

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