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

If you’re preparing to leave for vacation, your thoughts might go toward packing your suitcase and ensuring any travel arrangements are in place. But you'll also want to prepare the house for your departure as well.

One typical question people ask is this: What should I set my thermostat to while on vacation? Your intention may be to conserve energy, but you'll still want to avoid turning off your HVAC system. The furnace or air conditioner still needs to run a little to avoid severe heat or cold, depending on the season. Here’s what you need to consider about setting your thermostat when you are gone on vacation.

Setting the Thermostat for a Summer Vacation

If you’re traveling at the peak of summer, you can generally expect the temperature inside your house to rise as it gets hotter and hotter outside each day. With no air conditioning at all, the temperature can easily surpass 90 degrees inside—not exciting news if you’re stressed about delicate items.

A good rule of thumb is to raise the thermostat 5 to 10 degrees warmer than you typically do throughout the day without reaching above 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, remember that a “temporary” hold should resume your regular schedule at the next programmed time. So you need to use the “permanent” or “vacation” hold setting when going out of town to make sure your chosen temperature sticks.

Setting the Thermostat for a Winter Vacation

To decide the ideal thermostat setting when traveling in the winter, use the same means suggested above, but in reverse—that is, change the temperature 5 to 10 degrees colder than you normally do over the course of the day without slipping below 60 degrees.

The most significant reason to keep your home warm while you’re out of town is to prevent frozen pipes. Your plumbing that runs alongside exterior walls and inside unheated spaces is the most at risk. Keeping the temperature at 60 degrees or warmer limits this risk. Another great idea is to keep the cupboard doors open to help warm air move around the pipes beneath your kitchen and bathroom sinks. You may also want to turn off the water at the central shut-off valve to avoid a plumbing emergency while you’re away on vacation.

Preparing a Smart Thermostat Before Leaving for Vacation

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

For instance, you can follow up on the temperature remotely via your tablet or smartphone. Verify how often the AC or furnace has been turning on in your absence as it holds the temperature you set before you left. If you’re concerned with what you discover, you can change the thermostat from anyplace with your internet-enabled device. You can even set a comfortable temperature that will resume when you’re about an hour away from home.

For even greater peace of mind, Wi-Fi thermostats notify you of unexpected environmental variations, like a higher-than-expected temperature or increased moisture while you’re gone.

Additional Vacation Recommendations

Keep these components in mind to make sure your home is good to go before departing on your trip:

  • Consider any delicate paintings, electronics or houseplants that may be vulnerable to high or low temperatures.
  • If you’re leaving pets at home or have planned to have a house sitter visit, you might 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.
  • Shut your blinds and drapes to help keep the hot sun or cold winter air away from your home. This is also a good idea if you want privacy because it stops prying eyes from looking inside while you’re away.
  • Schedule HVAC maintenance before you head out to make sure your system runs properly and is unlikely to encounter any trouble while you’re out of town.

Get in Touch with Stevenson Service Experts

Whether you need to address thermostat-related questions or are wanting to request HVAC maintenance before your next vacation, the HVAC pros at Stevenson Service Experts are here to assist. We can suggest a new thermostat for your needs and even install it and show you how to use it. Our services encompass all your HVAC goals, from maintenance and repair to installation and replacement. Call us today to ask questions or set up a visit from one of our experienced heating and cooling technicians.

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