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

If you’re getting ready to leave for vacation, your thoughts might go toward packing your suitcase and making sure all travel arrangements are in order. But don’t forget to prepare the house for your departure as well.

One typical question people share is this: What will I need to set my thermostat to while on vacation? Your plan might be to reduce costs, but try and avoid completely turning off your HVAC system. The furnace or air conditioner needs to run a little to prevent severe heat or cold, depending on the season. Here’s what you should learn about setting your thermostat when you leave on vacation.

Adjusting the Thermostat for a Summer Vacation

If you’re on vacation at the peak of summer, you should expect the temperature inside your house to go up as it gets hotter outside each day. If you don't have air conditioning, the temperature may rapidly top 90 degrees inside—not exciting news if you’re concerned about sensitive items.

A good guideline is to adjust the thermostat 5 to 10 degrees warmer than you ordinarily do during the day without reaching above 85 degrees. This is a great compromise between saving energy and protecting your home’s interior.

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

Adjusting the Thermostat for a Winter Vacation

To decide the ideal thermostat setting when traveling in the winter, use the same method suggested above, but backward—that is, change the temperature 5 to 10 degrees cooler than you usually do throughout the day without slipping under 60 degrees.

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

Preparing a Smart Thermostat Before Leaving for Vacation

If you don’t already have a Wi-Fi or “smart” thermostat, this can be a great time to upgrade. The latest advancements in thermostat technologies offer fantastic benefits, both while you’re at home and away.

As an example, you can check on the temperature remotely via your tablet or smartphone. Figure out how frequently the AC or furnace has been running in your absence as it maintains the temperature you chose before you left. If you’re not happy with what you discover, you can adjust the thermostat from wherever via 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 better peace of mind, Wi-Fi thermostats notify you of sudden environmental changes, such as a higher-than-expected temperature or increased moisture while you’re out of the house.

Other Vacation Recommendations

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

  • Remember any delicate paintings, electronics or houseplants that are sensitive to high or low temperatures.
  • If you’re leaving pets at home or have decided 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 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 privacy measure that keeps prying eyes from peering inside while you’re away from home.
  • Schedule HVAC maintenance before you head out to ensure your system works properly and is unlikely to encounter any trouble while you’re out of town.

Get in Touch with Matz-Rightway

Whether you want to ask thermostat-related questions or are wanting to schedule HVAC maintenance before your tropical vacation, the HVAC experts at Matz-Rightway 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 needs, from maintenance and repair to installation and replacement. Contact us today to share questions or set up a visit from one of our qualified heating and cooling technicians.

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