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 ensuring all your travel arrangements are in place. But don’t forget to prepare the house for your time away as well.

One typical question people ask is this: What should I set my thermostat to while on vacation? Your plan will often be to save money, but you'll still want to avoid turning off your HVAC system. The furnace or air conditioner still needs to run a little to prevent excessive heat or cold, depending on the season. Here’s what you have to know about setting your thermostat when you leave for vacation.

Preparing the Thermostat for a Summer Vacation

If you’re taking a trip at the pinnacle of summer, you can generally expect the temperature inside your house to rise as it gets hotter outside each day. With no air conditioning at all, the temperature can easily surpass 90 degrees inside—not exciting news if you’re worried about sensitive belongings.

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

If you own a programmable or Wi-Fi thermostat, keep in mind that a “temporary” hold will resume your regular schedule at the next programmed time. So you should select the “permanent” or “vacation” hold setting when going out of town to make sure your desired temperature sticks.

Adjusting the Thermostat for a Winter Vacation

To decide the ideal thermostat setting when traveling in the winter, follow the same means proposed above, but backward—that is, change the temperature 5 to 10 degrees lower than you generally do over the course of the day without falling below 60 degrees.

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

Setting a Smart Thermostat Before Leaving for Vacation

If you don’t already have a Wi-Fi or “smart” thermostat, this could be a great time to upgrade. The latest innovations in thermostat technologies feature 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. Find out how regularly 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 not happy with what you see, you can control the thermostat from anyplace 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 more peace of mind, Wi-Fi thermostats warn you of unforeseen environmental variations, such as a higher-than-expected temperature or increased moisture while you’re gone.

Additional Vacation Recommendations

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

  • Consider any delicate paintings, electronics or houseplants that could be sensitive to high or low temperatures.
  • If you’re leaving pets at home or have planned to have a house sitter come by, you will 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.
  • Shut any window treatments to help keep the hot sun or cold winter air out of your home. This is also a privacy measure that keeps prying eyes from looking inside while you’re absent.
  • Arrange for HVAC maintenance before you head out to make sure your system operates correctly and is unlikely to suffer from any issues while you’re out of town.

Contact Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning

Whether you have thermostat-related questions or are hoping to request HVAC maintenance before your next vacation, the HVAC experts 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 show you how to use it. Our services encompass all your HVAC requirements, from maintenance and repair to installation and replacement. Get in touch with us today to raise questions or request a visit from one of our qualified heating and cooling technicians.

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