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

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

One frequent 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 air conditioner still needs to run a little to prevent excessive heat or cold, depending on the season. Here’s what you need to learn about setting your thermostat when you leave on vacation.

Preparing 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 rise as it gets hotter and hotter outside each day. With no air conditioning at all, the temperature can easily top 90 degrees inside—not happy news if you’re stressed about sensitive belongings.

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

If you own a programmable or Wi-Fi thermostat, keep in mind that a “temporary” hold will return to your regular schedule at the next programmed time. So you have to select the “permanent” or “vacation” hold setting when going out of town to ensure your desired temperature sticks.

Setting the Thermostat for a Winter Vacation

To figure out the ideal thermostat setting when traveling in the winter, use the same method proposed above, but in reverse—that is, adjust' the temperature 5 to 10 degrees colder than you normally do over the course of the day without falling under 60 degrees.

The most important reason to heat your home while you’re out of town is to prevent frozen pipes. Any plumbing that runs along exterior walls and through unheated spaces is the most at risk. Holding the temperature at 60 degrees or up limits this risk. Another good idea is to keep the cupboard doors open to help warm air circulate around the pipes beneath the kitchen and bathroom sinks. You will also want to turn off the water at the main shut-off valve to avoid a plumbing crisis while you’re away on vacation.

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 technology feature excellent benefits, both while you’re at home and away.

For instance, you can follow up on the temperature remotely with your tablet or smartphone. Figure out how often the AC or furnace has been turning on in your absence as it holds the temperature you decided on before you left. If you’re unsatisfied with what you see, you can adjust the thermostat from anyplace using 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 better peace of mind, Wi-Fi thermostats notify you of sudden environmental changes, including a higher-than-expected temperature or excessive moisture while you’re out of the house.

More 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 may be sensitive to high or low temperatures.
  • If you’re leaving pets at home or have decided to have a house sitter visit, you will 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.
  • Shut the blinds and curtains to help keep the hot sun or cold winter air out of your home. This is also a privacy measure that keeps prying eyes from taking a look inside while you’re gone.
  • Arrange for HVAC maintenance before you go to ensure your system operates efficiently and is unlikely to experience any problems while you’re out of town.

Get in Touch with Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning

Whether you need to address thermostat-related questions or are wanting to request HVAC maintenance before your upcoming vacation, the HVAC professionals at Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning are here to help. We can recommend a new thermostat for your needs and even install it and demonstrate how to use it. Our services include all your HVAC goals, from maintenance and repair to installation and replacement. Call us today to share questions or set up a visit from one of our certified heating and cooling technicians.