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

If you’re getting ready to go on vacation, your thoughts might focus on packing your suitcase and seeing to it that all your travel arrangements are in order. But remember to prepare the house for your departure as well.

One common question people share is this: What will I need to set my thermostat to while I'm gone? Your goal will often be to conserve energy, but don’t be tempted to completely turn off your HVAC system. The furnace or AC system should still run a little to avoid excessive heat or cold, depending on the season. Here’s what you have to consider about setting your thermostat when you leave for vacation.

Preparing the Thermostat for a Summer Vacation

If you’re taking a trip at the height of summer, you should 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 exciting news if you’re worried about fragile items.

A good guideline is to raise the thermostat 5 to 10 degrees higher than you typically do throughout the day without exceeding 85 degrees. This is a good compromise between saving energy and protecting your home’s interior.

If you own a programmable or Wi-Fi thermostat, remember that a “temporary” hold is supposed to return to your regular schedule at the next programmed time. So you should use the “permanent” or “vacation” hold setting when going on vacation to see to it that your desired temperature sticks.

Setting the Thermostat for a Winter Vacation

To identify the best thermostat setting when traveling in the winter, follow the same means suggested above, but backward—that is, adjust' the temperature 5 to 10 degrees colder than you generally do throughout the day without dropping under 60 degrees.

The most important reason to continue heating your home while you’re on vacation is to minimize the risk of frozen pipes. Your plumbing that runs near exterior walls and inside unheated spaces is exposed to freezing. Keeping the temperature at 60 degrees or up limits this risk. Another great idea is to have the cupboard doors open to help warm air flow around the pipes underneath your kitchen and bathroom sinks. You may also want to shut off the water at the main shut-off valve to protect against a plumbing crisis while you’re away on vacation.

Adjusting a Smart Thermostat Before Leaving for Vacation

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

For example, you can follow up on the temperature remotely with your tablet or smartphone. Figure out how frequently 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 unhappy with what you find, you can control the thermostat from anyplace with your internet-enabled device. You can even set a comfortable temperature to resume when you’re about an hour away from home.

For even better peace of mind, Wi-Fi thermostats notify you of unexpected environmental changes, such as a higher-than-expected temperature or excessive moisture while you’re away from home.

Additional Vacation Recommendations

Keep these things 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 vulnerable to hot or cold temperatures.
  • If you’re leaving pets at home or have decided 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.
  • 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 stops prying eyes from looking inside while you’re absent.
  • Schedule HVAC maintenance before you leave to make sure your system works efficiently and is unlikely to experience any issues while you’re away.

Get in Touch with Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning

Whether you need to address thermostat-related questions or are looking to request HVAC maintenance before your tropical vacation, the HVAC pros at Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning are here to help. We can recommend a new thermostat for your needs and even install it and show you how to use it. Our services include all your HVAC requirements, from maintenance and repair to installation and replacement. Contact us today to share questions or request a visit from one of our qualified heating and cooling technicians.