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

If you’re getting ready to leave for vacation, your thoughts might drift to packing your suitcase and seeing to it that all travel arrangements are in order. But you'll also want to prepare the house for your departure as well.

One typical question people have is this: What will I need to adjust my thermostat to while I'm gone? Your intention might be to reduce costs, but don’t be tempted to completely turn off your HVAC system. The furnace or AC unit needs to run a little to avoid excessive heat or cold, depending on the season. Here’s what you should know about setting your thermostat when you leave for vacation.

Adjusting the Thermostat for a Summer Vacation

If you’re on vacation at the pinnacle of summer, you should expect the temperature inside your house to rise as it gets hotter outside each day. If you don't have air conditioning, the temperature could rapidly surpass 90 degrees inside—not exciting news if you’re worried about sensitive possessions.

A good suggestion is to raise the thermostat 5 to 10 degrees warmer than you typically do during the day without exceeding 85 degrees. This is a great compromise between reducing energy and protecting your home’s interior.

If you have a programmable or Wi-Fi thermostat, don't forget that a “temporary” hold will continue your typical schedule at the next programmed time. So you need to use the “permanent” or “vacation” hold setting when going out of town to ensure your chosen temperature sticks.

Preparing the Thermostat for a Winter Vacation

To determine the perfect thermostat setting when taking a trip in the winter, use the same means suggested above, but in reverse—that is, adjust' the temperature 5 to 10 degrees lower than you generally do over the course of the day without falling below 60 degrees.

The most significant reason to heat your home while you’re out of town is to prevent frozen pipes. Your plumbing that runs along exterior walls and through unconditioned spaces is at risk. Holding the temperature at 60 degrees or warmer decreases 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 will also want to shut off the water at the central shut-off valve to protect against a plumbing emergency while you’re away.

Preparing a Smart Thermostat Before Going on Vacation

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

For instance, you can check on the temperature remotely via 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 adjust the thermostat from wherever using your internet-enabled device. You can even set a comfortable temperature that will resume when you’re close to an hour away from home.

For even more peace of mind, Wi-Fi thermostats warn you of sudden environmental shifts, including a higher-than-expected temperature or excessive moisture while you’re gone.

Additional Vacation Recommendations

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

  • Remember any delicate paintings, electronics or houseplants that are sensitive to extreme 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 close to normal—such as 80 degrees in the summer and 65 degrees in the winter—so the conditions are 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 good idea if you want privacy because it keeps prying eyes from peering inside while you’re away from home.
  • Arrange for HVAC maintenance before you head out to ensure your system operates properly and is unlikely to encounter any trouble while you’re gone.

Contact Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning

Whether you need to address thermostat-related questions or are hoping to arrange for HVAC maintenance before your upcoming vacation, the HVAC professionals at Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning are here to help. We can suggest a new thermostat for your needs and even install it and show you how to make the most of its features. Our services include all your HVAC goals, from maintenance and repair to installation and replacement. Call us today to ask questions or schedule a visit from one of our qualified heating and cooling technicians.

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