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

One common question people ask 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 system needs to run a little to avoid excessive heat or cold, depending on the season. Here’s what you need to know about setting your thermostat when you are gone on vacation.

Adjusting the Thermostat for a Summer Vacation

If you’re taking a trip at the height of summer, you can expect the temperature inside your house to increase as it gets warmer outside each day. If you don't have air conditioning, the temperature could easily top 90 degrees inside—not exciting news if you’re stressed about delicate items.

A good guideline is to increase the thermostat 5 to 10 degrees warmer than you typically do during the day without reaching above 85 degrees. This is an ideal compromise between conserving 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 resume your standard schedule at the next programmed time. So you have to use the “permanent” or “vacation” hold setting when going out of town to make sure your chosen temperature sticks.

Setting the Thermostat for a Winter Vacation

To figure out the best thermostat setting when traveling in the winter, follow the same technique proposed above, but in reverse—that is, change the temperature 5 to 10 degrees colder than you usually do throughout the day without falling under 60 degrees.

The most significant reason to continue heating your home while you’re out of town is to prevent frozen pipes. Any plumbing that runs near exterior walls and in unconditioned spaces is the most at risk. Holding the temperature at 60 degrees or higher limits 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 may also want to turn off the water at the main shut-off valve to protect against a plumbing disaster while you’re away on vacation.

Adjusting a Smart Thermostat Before Going on Vacation

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

For instance, you can follow up on the temperature remotely with your tablet or smartphone. Determine 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 see, you can adjust the thermostat from anyplace with your internet-enabled device. You can even set a comfortable temperature that can resume when you’re close to an hour away from home.

For even better peace of mind, Wi-Fi thermostats alert you of unforeseen environmental shifts, like a higher-than-expected temperature or excessive moisture while you’re gone.

Other Vacation Recommendations

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

  • Don't forget about any delicate paintings, electronics or houseplants that are susceptible to high or low temperatures.
  • If you’re leaving pets at home or have planned to have a house sitter come by, you might want to leave the temperature about normal—such as 80 degrees in the summer and 65 degrees in the winter—so the conditions are comfortable enough for them.
  • Shut the blinds and curtains to help keep the hot sun or cold winter air away from your home. This is also a privacy measure that stops prying eyes from taking a look inside while you’re away from home.
  • Arrange for HVAC maintenance before you leave to ensure your system operates properly and is unlikely to suffer from any problems while you’re gone.

Call Strand Brothers Service Experts

Whether you have thermostat-related questions or are hoping to arrange for HVAC maintenance before your next vacation, the HVAC professionals at Strand Brothers Service Experts are here to support you. We can suggest a new thermostat for your needs and even install it and teach you how to make the most of its features. Our services encompass all your HVAC goals, from maintenance and repair to installation and replacement. Call us today to raise questions or set up a visit from one of our qualified heating and cooling technicians.

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