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

If you’re preparing to take a vacation, your feelings might focus on packing your suitcase and making sure all travel arrangements are ready to go. But you'll also want to prepare the house for you being gone as well.

One frequent question people share is this: What should I set 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 system still needs to run a little to prevent extreme heat or cold, depending on the season. Here’s what you have to consider about setting your thermostat when you leave for vacation.

Setting the Thermostat for a Summer Vacation

If you’re traveling at the peak of summer, you can expect the temperature inside your house to rise as it gets hotter and hotter outside each day. Without air conditioning, the temperature may quickly exceed 90 degrees inside—not exciting news if you’re stressed about fragile possessions.

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

If you have a programmable or Wi-Fi thermostat, remember that a “temporary” hold should continue your standard schedule at the next programmed time. So you need to use the “permanent” or “vacation” hold setting when you're on vacation to ensure your preferred temperature sticks.

Adjusting the Thermostat for a Winter Vacation

To decide the perfect thermostat setting when traveling in the winter, use the same means proposed above, but in reverse—that is, adjust' the temperature 5 to 10 degrees cooler than you usually do during the day without falling below 60 degrees.

The biggest reason to heat your home while you’re on vacation is to prevent frozen pipes. The plumbing that runs alongside exterior walls and in unfinished spaces is the most at risk. Holding the temperature at 60 degrees or higher reduces this risk. Another good idea is to have the cupboard doors open to help warm air circulate around the pipes under the kitchen and bathroom sinks. You will also want to shut off the water at the main shut-off valve to avoid a plumbing crisis while you’re away.

Setting 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 advancements in thermostat technology feature excellent benefits, both while you’re at home and on a trip.

As an example, you can check on the temperature remotely with your tablet or smartphone. Determine how often the AC or furnace has been turning on in your absence as it maintains the temperature you set before you left. If you’re concerned with what you see, you can control the thermostat from anyplace with your internet-enabled device. You can even set a comfortable temperature that can resume when you’re under an hour away from home.

For even greater peace of mind, Wi-Fi thermostats alert you of unexpected environmental shifts, including a higher-than-expected temperature or increased moisture while you’re away from home.

More Vacation Recommendations

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

  • Consider any delicate paintings, electronics or houseplants that are susceptible to hot or cold 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 closer to normal—such as 80 degrees in the summer and 65 degrees in the winter—so the conditions are comfortable enough for them.
  • Close your blinds and drapes to help keep the hot sun or cold winter air outside of your home. This also helps with privacy since it prevents prying eyes from taking a look inside while you’re away.
  • Arrange for HVAC maintenance before you leave to make sure your system works efficiently and is unlikely to suffer from any issues while you’re out of town.

Get in Touch with Neal Harris Service Experts

Whether you want to ask thermostat-related questions or are hoping to request HVAC maintenance before your next vacation, the HVAC experts at Neal Harris Service Experts are here to assist. We can recommend a new thermostat for your needs and even install it and demonstrate how to make the most of its features. Our services cover all your HVAC requirements, from maintenance and repair to installation and replacement. Call us today to ask questions or schedule a visit from one of our experienced heating and cooling technicians.

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