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

If you’re planning to go on vacation, your thoughts might drift to packing your suitcase and ensuring all travel arrangements are in place. But don’t forget to prepare the house for your departure as well. 

One common question people share is this: What should I my thermostat to while I’m gone? Your plan will often 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 minimize excessive heat or cold, depending on the season. Here’s what you need to know about setting your thermostat when you leave for vacation. 

Setting the Thermostat for a Summer Vacation 

If you’re on vacation 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 may easily top 90 degrees inside—not happy news if you’re concerned about delicate belongings. 

A good guideline is to raise the thermostat 5 to 10 degrees higher than you ordinarily do over the course of the day without going over 85 degrees. This is a good compromise between saving energy and protecting the interior of your home. 

If you have a programmable or Wi-Fi thermostat, keep in mind that a “temporary” hold is supposed to continue your typical schedule at the next programmed time. So you need to try the “permanent” or “vacation” hold setting when you’re on vacation to ensure your desired temperature sticks. 

Setting the Thermostat for a Winter Vacation 

To decide the perfect thermostat setting when taking a trip in the winter, follow the same method suggested above, but in reverse—that is, set the temperature 5 to 10 degrees lower than you generally do over the course of the day without slipping below 60 degrees. 

The most significant reason to continue heating your home while you’re out of town is to avoid frozen pipes. Your plumbing that runs against exterior walls and in unconditioned spaces is exposed to freezing. 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 move around the pipes underneath your kitchen and bathroom sinks. You might also want to turn off the water at the main shut-off valve to prevent a plumbing crisis while you’re away on vacation. 

Setting a Smart Thermostat Before Taking a Vacation 

If you don’t already own a Wi-Fi or “smart” thermostat, this can be a great time to upgrade. The latest enhancements in thermostat systems provide excellent benefits, both while you’re at home and on vacation. 

As an example, you can follow up on the temperature remotely via your tablet or smartphone. Find 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 unhappy with what you discover, you can adjust the thermostat from wherever via 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 more peace of mind, Wi-Fi thermostats notify you of unexpected environmental shifts, like a higher-than-expected temperature or increased moisture while you’re away from home. 

More Vacation Recommendations 

Keep these things in mind to ensure your home is good to go before departing on your trip: 

  • Consider any delicate paintings, electronics or houseplants that can be sensitive to hot or cold temperatures. 
  • If you’re leaving pets at home or have arranged to have a house sitter stop by, you may want to leave the temperature close to normal—such as 80 degrees in the summer and 65 degrees in the winter—so the home is comfortable enough for them. 
  • Close any window treatments 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 peering inside while you’re away. 
  • Schedule HVAC maintenance before you go to ensure your system runs properly and is unlikely to experience any issues while you’re out of town. 

Call Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing 

Whether you want to ask thermostat-related questions or are hoping to arrange for HVAC maintenance before your tropical vacation, the HVAC pros at Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing are here to assist. We can point you to a new thermostat for your needs and even install it and demonstrate how to use it. Our services encompass all your HVAC needs, from maintenance and repair to installation and replacement. Get in touch with us today to share questions or request a visit from one of our certified heating and cooling technicians. 

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