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

If you’re preparing to leave for vacation, your mind might go toward packing your suitcase and making sure all your travel arrangements are in order. But don’t forget to prepare the house for your departure as well.

One typical question people share is this: What should I set my thermostat to while I'm gone? Your hope might be to save money, but try and avoid completely turning off your HVAC system. The furnace or air conditioner should still run a little to minimize severe heat or cold, depending on the season. Here’s what you have to know about setting your thermostat when you leave 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 increase as it gets warmer outside each day. With no air conditioning at all, the temperature may easily top 90 degrees inside—not good news if you’re worried about sensitive items.

A good suggestion is to adjust the thermostat 5 to 10 degrees warmer than you usually do during the day without exceeding 85 degrees. This is an ideal compromise between saving energy and protecting everything inside your home.

If you prefer a programmable or Wi-Fi thermostat, don't forget that a “temporary” hold is supposed to return to your standard schedule at the next programmed time. So you have to use the “permanent” or “vacation” hold setting when going on vacation to ensure your preferred temperature sticks.

Preparing the Thermostat for a Winter Vacation

To decide the best thermostat setting when traveling in the winter, use the same means suggested above, but in the opposite direction—that is, adjust' the temperature 5 to 10 degrees colder than you usually do over the course of the day without falling below 60 degrees.

The most important reason to heat your home while you’re on vacation is to prevent frozen pipes. Your plumbing that runs along exterior walls and inside unconditioned spaces is at risk. Holding the temperature at 60 degrees or higher lowers this risk. Another smart idea is to leave the cupboard doors open to help warm air move around the pipes beneath the kitchen and bathroom sinks. You might also want to turn off the water at the central shut-off valve to protect against a plumbing disaster while you’re gone.

Adjusting a Smart Thermostat Before Leaving for Vacation

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

For instance, you can follow up on the temperature remotely using your tablet or smartphone. Verify how often the AC or furnace has been turning on in your absence as it holds the temperature you set before you left. If you’re concerned with what you see, you can change the thermostat from wherever with your internet-enabled device. You can even set a comfortable temperature to resume when you’re just about an hour away from home.

For even greater peace of mind, Wi-Fi thermostats warn you of unexpected environmental shifts, like a higher-than-expected temperature or excessive moisture while you’re away from home.

Additional Vacation Recommendations

Keep these factors in mind to ensure your home is good to go before departing on your trip:

  • Consider any delicate paintings, electronics or houseplants that are susceptible to hot or cold temperatures.
  • If you’re leaving pets at home or have decided to have a house sitter stop by, you may want to leave the temperature closer 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 also helps with privacy since it prevents prying eyes from peering inside while you’re absent.
  • Schedule HVAC maintenance before you go to ensure your system runs efficiently and is unlikely to encounter any trouble while you’re gone.

Call Climate Control Service Experts

Whether you want to ask thermostat-related questions or are wanting to arrange for HVAC maintenance before your tropical vacation, the HVAC professionals at Climate Control Service Experts are here to support you. We can recommend a new thermostat for your needs and even install it and show you how it works. Our services cover 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 certified heating and cooling technicians.

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