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

If you’re getting ready to leave for vacation, your thoughts might drift to packing your suitcase and ensuring all travel arrangements are in place. But you'll also want to prepare the house for your time away as well.

One frequent question people have is this: What will I need to set my thermostat to while I'm gone? Your hope will often be to save money, but don’t be tempted to completely turn off your HVAC system. The furnace or AC system still needs to run a little to avoid severe heat or cold, depending on the season. Here’s what you need to know about setting your thermostat when you leave on vacation.

Setting the Thermostat for a Summer Vacation

If you’re taking a trip at the peak of summer, you can generally expect the temperature inside your house to go up as it gets hotter outside each day. With no air conditioning at all, the temperature may easily top 90 degrees inside—not exciting news if you’re concerned about fragile possessions.

A good rule of thumb is to adjust the thermostat 5 to 10 degrees higher than you usually do during the day without reaching above 85 degrees. This is a good compromise between conserving energy and protecting the interior of your home.

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

Adjusting the Thermostat for a Winter Vacation

To decide the ideal thermostat setting when traveling in the winter, implement the same means recommended above, but in reverse—that is, change the temperature 5 to 10 degrees cooler 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 away is to minimize the risk of frozen pipes. The plumbing that runs alongside exterior walls and through unheated spaces is at risk. Maintaining the temperature at 60 degrees or warmer decreases this risk. Another smart idea is to leave the cupboard doors open to help warm air circulate around the pipes under your kitchen and bathroom sinks. You may also want to turn off the water at the central shut-off valve to prevent a plumbing emergency while you’re away.

Preparing a Smart Thermostat Before Leaving for Vacation

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

As an example, you can follow up on the temperature remotely with your tablet or smartphone. Verify how regularly the AC or furnace has been running in your absence as it sustains the temperature you set before you left. If you’re unsatisfied with what you discover, you can control the thermostat from anyplace via 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 better peace of mind, Wi-Fi thermostats alert you of unforeseen environmental changes, such as a higher-than-expected temperature or excess moisture while you’re away from home.

More Vacation Recommendations

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

  • Consider any delicate paintings, electronics or houseplants that may 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 will 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.
  • Shut your blinds and drapes 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 stops prying eyes from looking inside while you’re away.
  • Request HVAC maintenance before you leave to make sure your system runs efficiently and is unlikely to experience any trouble while you’re gone.

Contact Wesley Wood Service Experts

Whether you want to ask thermostat-related questions or are looking to request HVAC maintenance before your next vacation, the HVAC pros at Wesley Wood Service Experts are here to assist. We can recommend a new thermostat for your needs and even install it and show you how to make the most of its features. Our services include all your HVAC requirements, from maintenance and repair to installation and replacement. Contact us today to share questions or schedule a visit from one of our qualified heating and cooling technicians.

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