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

If you’re planning to take a vacation, your feelings might lean toward packing your suitcase and seeing to it that all your travel arrangements are in place. But don’t forget to prepare the house for you being gone as well.

One common question people share is this: What can I set my thermostat to while I'm gone? Your hope may be to conserve energy, but you'll still want to avoid turning off your HVAC system. The furnace or air conditioner should still run a little to avoid excessive heat or cold, depending on the season. Here’s what you have to know about setting your thermostat when you leave on vacation.

Preparing the Thermostat for a Summer Vacation

If you’re on vacation at the height of summer, you can generally 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 quickly top 90 degrees inside—not happy news if you’re worried about fragile possessions.

A good rule of thumb is to raise the thermostat 5 to 10 degrees higher than you ordinarily do over the course of the day without exceeding 85 degrees. This is an ideal compromise between reducing energy and protecting your home’s interior.

If you prefer a programmable or Wi-Fi thermostat, keep in mind that a “temporary” hold should resume your typical schedule at the next programmed time. So you should try the “permanent” or “vacation” hold setting when you're on vacation to ensure your preferred temperature sticks.

Preparing the Thermostat for a Winter Vacation

To figure out the perfect thermostat setting when on vacation in the winter, implement the same technique proposed above, but backward—that is, set the temperature 5 to 10 degrees colder than you usually do throughout the day without slipping below 60 degrees.

The most significant reason to continue heating your home while you’re on vacation is to avoid frozen pipes. Any plumbing that runs alongside exterior walls and inside unheated spaces is exposed to freezing. Keeping the temperature at 60 degrees or higher lowers this risk. Another great idea is to have the cupboard doors open to help warm air move around the pipes underneath the kitchen and bathroom sinks. You might also want to turn off the water at the primary shut-off valve to avoid a plumbing disaster while you’re away on vacation.

Setting a Smart Thermostat Before Leaving for Vacation

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

For example, you can check on the temperature remotely with your tablet or smartphone. Find out how regularly the AC or furnace has been turning on in your absence as it maintains the temperature you set before you left. If you’re concerned with what you see, you can change the thermostat from anywhere with 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 greater peace of mind, Wi-Fi thermostats alert you of sudden environmental shifts, like a higher-than-expected temperature or increased moisture while you’re away from home.

Other Vacation Recommendations

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

  • Don't forget about any delicate paintings, electronics or houseplants that can be susceptible to extreme temperatures.
  • If you’re leaving pets at home or have decided to have a house sitter visit, 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 conditions are comfortable enough for them.
  • Shut the blinds and curtains 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 prevents prying eyes from peering inside while you’re gone.
  • Schedule HVAC maintenance before you go to ensure your system works efficiently and is unlikely to encounter any trouble while you’re away.

Call Calverley Service Experts

Whether you need to address thermostat-related questions or are wanting to schedule HVAC maintenance before your tropical vacation, the HVAC pros at Calverley Service Experts are here to help. We can recommend a new thermostat for your needs and even install it and teach you how it works. Our services cover all your HVAC needs, from maintenance and repair to installation and replacement. Call us today to ask questions or request a visit from one of our qualified heating and cooling technicians.

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