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

If you’re preparing to go on vacation, your thoughts might lean toward packing your suitcase and seeing to it that all travel arrangements are in order. But remember to prepare the house for you being gone as well.

One frequent question people share is this: What should I adjust my thermostat to while I'm on vacation? Your hope might be to save money, but don’t be tempted to completely turn off your HVAC system. The furnace or AC unit needs to run a little to minimize extreme heat or cold, depending on the season. Here’s what you need to know about setting your thermostat when you are gone on vacation.

Setting 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 rise as it gets hotter and hotter outside each day. If you don't have air conditioning, the temperature can rapidly top 90 degrees inside—not good news if you’re concerned about fragile belongings.

A good suggestion is to adjust the thermostat 5 to 10 degrees higher than you usually do throughout the day without reaching above 85 degrees. This is a great compromise between reducing energy and protecting the interior of your home.

If you own a programmable or Wi-Fi thermostat, keep in mind that a “temporary” hold will continue your regular 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 preferred temperature sticks.

Setting the Thermostat for a Winter Vacation

To figure out the perfect thermostat setting when on vacation in the winter, implement the same method suggested above, but backward—that is, change the temperature 5 to 10 degrees colder than you usually do throughout the day without falling lower than 60 degrees.

The most important reason to keep your home warm while you’re out of town is to avoid frozen pipes. The plumbing that runs along exterior walls and inside unfinished spaces is exposed to freezing. Holding the temperature at 60 degrees or up reduces this risk. Another great idea is to keep the cupboard doors open to help warm air move around the pipes beneath the kitchen and bathroom sinks. You will also want to turn off the water at the primary shut-off valve to prevent a plumbing crisis while you’re away.

Adjusting a Smart Thermostat Before Taking a Vacation

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

As an example, you can follow up on the temperature remotely using your tablet or smartphone. Figure out how regularly the AC or furnace has been running in your absence as it holds the temperature you set before you left. If you’re not happy with what you discover, you can control the thermostat from wherever with your internet-enabled device. You can even set a comfortable temperature to resume when you’re close to an hour away from home.

For even better peace of mind, Wi-Fi thermostats notify you of unforeseen environmental variations, like a higher-than-expected temperature or increased moisture while you’re out of the house.

Additional Vacation Recommendations

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

  • Don't forget about any delicate paintings, electronics or houseplants that could be vulnerable to high or low temperatures.
  • If you’re leaving pets at home or have arranged to have a house sitter come by, you might want to leave the temperature closer to normal—such as 80 degrees in the summer and 65 degrees in the winter—so the home is comfortable enough for them.
  • Shut the blinds and curtains to help keep the hot sun or cold winter air outside of 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 away from home.
  • Request HVAC maintenance before you head out to make sure your system runs correctly and is unlikely to experience any trouble while you’re out of town.

Contact Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning

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

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