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

If you’re planning to take a vacation, your mind might go toward packing your suitcase and making sure any travel arrangements are in place. But you'll also want to prepare the house for your time away as well.

One common question people share is this: What can I adjust my thermostat to while on vacation? Your goal may be to save money, but try and avoid completely turning off your HVAC system. The furnace or AC unit needs to run a little to minimize extreme heat or cold, depending on the season. Here’s what you have to consider about setting your thermostat when you are gone on 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 hotter outside each day. With no air conditioning at all, the temperature may rapidly top 90 degrees inside—not exciting news if you’re stressed about sensitive possessions.

A good rule of thumb is to increase the thermostat 5 to 10 degrees warmer than you usually do during the day without reaching above 85 degrees. This is an ideal compromise between conserving energy and protecting your home’s interior.

If you have a programmable or Wi-Fi thermostat, remember that a “temporary” hold will continue your regular schedule at the next programmed time. So you should select the “permanent” or “vacation” hold setting when going on vacation to ensure your desired temperature sticks.

Preparing the Thermostat for a Winter Vacation

To decide the perfect thermostat setting when on vacation in the winter, follow the same means suggested above, but in the opposite direction—that is, set the temperature 5 to 10 degrees lower than you normally do throughout the day without slipping under 60 degrees.

The most important reason to keep your home warm while you’re on vacation is to prevent frozen pipes. Any plumbing that runs near exterior walls and through unconditioned spaces is at risk. Maintaining the temperature at 60 degrees or up limits this risk. Another good idea is to keep the cupboard doors open to help warm air flow around the pipes beneath the kitchen and bathroom sinks. You will also want to turn off the water at the central shut-off valve to prevent 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 could be a great time to upgrade. The latest upgrades in thermostat technology feature excellent benefits, both while you’re at home and away.

For example, you can check in on the temperature remotely via your tablet or smartphone. Determine how regularly the AC or furnace has been running in your absence as it holds the temperature you chose before you left. If you’re unhappy with what you see, you can adjust the thermostat from anywhere with your internet-enabled device. You can even set a comfortable temperature that can resume when you’re about an hour away from home.

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

More Vacation Recommendations

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

  • Don't forget about any delicate paintings, electronics or houseplants that are susceptible to extreme temperatures.
  • If you’re leaving pets at home or have decided to have a house sitter stop by, you might 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 any window treatments to help keep the hot sun or cold winter air away from your home. This is also a good idea if you want privacy because it prevents prying eyes from peering inside while you’re away from home.
  • Schedule HVAC maintenance before you leave to make sure your system operates efficiently and is unlikely to suffer from any trouble while you’re away.

Call Stevenson Service Experts

Whether you want to ask thermostat-related questions or are looking to schedule HVAC maintenance before your upcoming vacation, the HVAC pros at Stevenson Service Experts are here to support you. We can point you to a new thermostat for your needs and even install it and show you how to use it. Our services encompass all your HVAC requirements, from maintenance and repair to installation and replacement. Call us today to raise questions or set up a visit from one of our certified heating and cooling technicians.

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