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

If you’re getting ready to take a vacation, your mind might focus on packing your suitcase and ensuring all your travel arrangements are in place. But remember to prepare the house for your departure as well.

One frequent question people ask is this: What will I need to adjust my thermostat to while I'm on vacation? Your goal will often be to conserve energy, but don’t be tempted to completely turn off your HVAC system. The furnace or AC unit should still run a little to avoid extreme heat or cold, depending on the season. Here’s what you need to consider about setting your thermostat when you leave on vacation.

Adjusting the Thermostat for a Summer Vacation

If you’re taking a trip at the peak of summer, you can expect the temperature inside your house to rise as it gets warmer outside each day. With no air conditioning at all, the temperature could rapidly surpass 90 degrees inside—not good news if you’re stressed about fragile possessions.

A good rule of thumb is to raise the thermostat 5 to 10 degrees warmer than you ordinarily do throughout the day without exceeding 85 degrees. This is a good compromise between saving energy and protecting your home’s interior.

If you own a programmable or Wi-Fi thermostat, remember that a “temporary” hold should resume your regular schedule at the next programmed time. So you have to try the “permanent” or “vacation” hold setting when going on vacation to make sure your chosen temperature sticks.

Adjusting the Thermostat for a Winter Vacation

To determine the best thermostat setting when traveling in the winter, implement the same means proposed above, but in the opposite direction—that is, change the temperature 5 to 10 degrees colder than you usually do during the day without dropping below 60 degrees.

The biggest reason to keep your home warm while you’re out of town is to minimize the risk of frozen pipes. Your plumbing that runs alongside exterior walls and in unheated spaces is at risk. Holding the temperature at 60 degrees or up limits this risk. Another smart idea is to have 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 avoid a plumbing disaster while you’re away.

Adjusting a Smart Thermostat Before Leaving for Vacation

If you don’t already own a Wi-Fi or “smart” thermostat, this may be a wonderful time to upgrade. The latest innovations in thermostat systems feature fantastic benefits, both while you’re at home and away.

As an example, you can check on the temperature remotely with your tablet or smartphone. Find out how regularly the AC or furnace has been active in your absence as it maintains the temperature you set before you left. If you’re not happy with what you see, you can control the thermostat from wherever using your internet-enabled device. You can even set a comfortable temperature that can resume when you’re close to an hour away from home.

For even better peace of mind, Wi-Fi thermostats warn you of sudden environmental shifts, including 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 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 planned to have a house sitter stop by, you will 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 is also a good idea if you want privacy because it prevents prying eyes from taking a look inside while you’re absent.
  • Request HVAC maintenance before you go to ensure your system operates efficiently and is unlikely to encounter any problems while you’re gone.

Get in Touch with Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning

Whether you want to ask thermostat-related questions or are wanting to request HVAC maintenance before your next vacation, the HVAC experts at Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning are here to support you. We can suggest a new thermostat for your needs and even install it and teach you how to use it. Our services include all your HVAC preferences, from maintenance and repair to installation and replacement. Call us today to share questions or set up a visit from one of our experienced heating and cooling technicians.