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

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

One common question people have is this: What should I set my thermostat to while I'm on vacation? Your intention may be to save money, but you'll still want to avoid turning off your HVAC system. The furnace or air conditioner should still run a little to avoid severe heat or cold, depending on the season. Here’s what you should learn about setting your thermostat when you are gone on vacation.

Setting the Thermostat for a Summer Vacation

If you’re traveling 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. With no air conditioning at all, the temperature can easily exceed 90 degrees inside—not happy news if you’re worried about fragile possessions.

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 the perfect compromise between conserving energy and protecting the interior of your home.

If you have a programmable or Wi-Fi thermostat, keep in mind that a “temporary” hold is supposed to continue your standard schedule at the next programmed time. So you need to use the “permanent” or “vacation” hold setting when going on vacation to make sure your desired temperature sticks.

Preparing the Thermostat for a Winter Vacation

To figure out the best thermostat setting when taking a trip in the winter, follow the same means suggested above, but in the opposite direction—that is, set the temperature 5 to 10 degrees colder than you generally do throughout the day without dropping below 60 degrees.

The most important reason to keep your home warm while you’re out of town is to minimize the risk of frozen pipes. Your plumbing that runs near exterior walls and in unheated spaces is exposed to freezing. Holding the temperature at 60 degrees or up decreases 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 will also want to turn off the water at the central shut-off valve to protect against a plumbing emergency while you’re away.

Adjusting a Smart Thermostat Before Going on Vacation

If you don’t already use a Wi-Fi or “smart” thermostat, this may be an ideal time to upgrade. The latest upgrades in thermostat technologies offer excellent benefits, both while you’re at home and away.

As an example, you can follow up on the temperature remotely with your tablet or smartphone. Figure out how regularly the AC or furnace has been turning on in your absence as it sustains the temperature you set before you left. If you’re unhappy with what you discover, you can control the thermostat from anyplace via 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 greater peace of mind, Wi-Fi thermostats warn you of sudden environmental variations, like a higher-than-expected temperature or excess moisture while you’re out of the house.

Other Vacation Recommendations

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

  • Consider any delicate paintings, electronics or houseplants that can be susceptible to extreme temperatures.
  • If you’re leaving pets at home or have decided to have a house sitter stop by, you will 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.
  • Shut any window treatments 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 looking inside while you’re away.
  • Schedule HVAC maintenance before you go to make sure your system works correctly and is unlikely to experience any problems while you’re gone.

Call Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning

Whether you need to address thermostat-related questions or are wanting to request HVAC maintenance before your tropical vacation, the HVAC pros 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 demonstrate how to make the most of its features. Our services cover all your HVAC needs, from maintenance and repair to installation and replacement. Contact us today to raise questions or schedule a visit from one of our certified heating and cooling technicians.

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