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

If you’re preparing to go on vacation, your mind might drift to packing your suitcase and making sure all your travel arrangements are in order. But don’t forget to prepare the house for your time away as well. 

One typical question people have is this: What can I my thermostat to while I’m on vacation? Your intention will often be to save money, but don’t be tempted to completely turn off your HVAC system. The furnace or air conditioner should still run a little to minimize excessive heat or cold, depending on the season. Here’s what you have to know about setting your thermostat when you are gone on vacation. 

Setting 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 rise as it gets hotter outside each day. If you don’t have air conditioning, the temperature could quickly top 90 degrees inside—not exciting news if you’re concerned about sensitive possessions. 

A good suggestion is to adjust the thermostat 5 to 10 degrees higher than you typically do over the course of the day without reaching above 85 degrees. This is the perfect compromise between reducing energy and protecting everything inside your home. 

If you own a programmable or Wi-Fi thermostat, don’t forget that a “temporary” hold is supposed to return to your standard schedule at the next programmed time. So you have to use the “permanent” or “vacation” hold setting when going out of town to see to it that your chosen temperature sticks. 

Preparing the Thermostat for a Winter Vacation 

To identify the best thermostat setting when taking a trip in the winter, use the same method proposed above, but in the opposite direction—that is, adjust’ the temperature 5 to 10 degrees lower than you normally do during the day without falling below 60 degrees. 

The most important reason to keep your home warm while you’re away is to prevent frozen pipes. The plumbing that runs against exterior walls and through unheated spaces is the most at risk. Holding the temperature at 60 degrees or higher decreases this risk. Another great idea is to leave the cupboard doors open to help warm air flow around the pipes under your kitchen and bathroom sinks. You might also want to turn off the water at the central shut-off valve to avoid a plumbing crisis while you’re gone. 

Setting a Smart Thermostat Before Leaving for Vacation 

If you don’t already have a Wi-Fi or “smart” thermostat, this may be an ideal time to upgrade. The latest upgrades in thermostat systems provide outstanding benefits, both while you’re at home and on vacation. 

As an example, you can follow up on the temperature remotely using your tablet or smartphone. Determine how frequently the AC or furnace has been turning on in your absence as it holds the temperature you chose before you left. If you’re unsatisfied with what you see, you can control the thermostat from anyplace with your internet-enabled device. You can even set a comfortable temperature that will resume when you’re close to an hour away from home. 

For even greater peace of mind, Wi-Fi thermostats warn you of unexpected environmental changes, such as a higher-than-expected temperature or excess moisture while you’re out of the house. 

Additional Vacation Recommendations 

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

  • Don’t forget about any delicate paintings, electronics or houseplants that are susceptible to high or low temperatures. 
  • If you’re leaving pets at home or have decided to have a house sitter visit, 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. 
  • Shut the blinds and curtains to help keep the hot sun or cold winter air out of your home. This is also a good idea if you want privacy because it keeps prying eyes from peering inside while you’re away from home. 
  • Request HVAC maintenance before you head out to ensure your system works efficiently and is unlikely to encounter any issues while you’re gone. 

Contact Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing 

Whether you have thermostat-related questions or are hoping to request HVAC maintenance before your tropical vacation, the HVAC pros at Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing are here to help. We can suggest a new thermostat for your needs and even install it and teach you how to make the most of its features. Our services encompass all your HVAC preferences, from maintenance and repair to installation and replacement. Contact us today to ask questions or request a visit from one of our qualified heating and cooling technicians. 

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