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

If you’re planning to take a vacation, your mind might lean toward packing your suitcase and making sure any travel arrangements are in place. But don’t forget to prepare the house for your time away as well.

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

Setting the Thermostat for a Summer Vacation

If you’re on vacation at the peak of summer, you can 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 can easily surpass 90 degrees inside—not exciting news if you’re concerned about delicate belongings.

A good rule of thumb is to increase the thermostat 5 to 10 degrees higher than you normally do during the day without going over 85 degrees. This is a great compromise between saving energy and protecting your home’s interior.

If you prefer a programmable or Wi-Fi thermostat, remember that a “temporary” hold will resume your standard schedule at the next programmed time. So you should use 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 perfect thermostat setting when traveling in the winter, follow the same technique recommended above, but in reverse—that is, change the temperature 5 to 10 degrees colder than you normally do throughout the day without slipping under 60 degrees.

The biggest reason to heat your home while you’re on vacation is to avoid frozen pipes. Any plumbing that runs along exterior walls and inside unfinished spaces is the most at risk. Keeping the temperature at 60 degrees or up limits this risk. Another good idea is to leave the cupboard doors open to help warm air flow around the pipes under the kitchen and bathroom sinks. You may also want to turn off the water at the primary 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 use a Wi-Fi or “smart” thermostat, this can be an ideal time to upgrade. The latest advancements in thermostat technologies provide excellent benefits, both while you’re at home and on vacation.

For instance, you can check in 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 sustains the temperature you chose before you left. If you’re not happy with what you see, you can adjust 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 greater peace of mind, Wi-Fi thermostats warn you of unforeseen environmental shifts, such as a higher-than-expected temperature or increased moisture while you’re gone.

Additional Vacation Recommendations

Keep these components in mind to see to it that your home is good to go before departing on your trip:

  • Remember any delicate paintings, electronics or houseplants that may be susceptible to hot or cold temperatures.
  • If you’re leaving pets at home or have arranged to have a house sitter stop by, 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 your blinds and drapes to help keep the hot sun or cold winter air outside of your home. This is also a privacy measure that prevents prying eyes from peering inside while you’re away from home.
  • Request HVAC maintenance before you head out to make sure your system operates properly and is unlikely to experience any trouble while you’re gone.

Get in Touch with Comfortech Service Experts

Whether you need to address thermostat-related questions or are looking to schedule HVAC maintenance before your tropical vacation, the HVAC pros at Comfortech Service Experts are here to assist. We can point you to a new thermostat for your needs and even install it and show you how it works. Our services include all your HVAC preferences, from maintenance and repair to installation and replacement. Contact us today to ask questions or schedule a visit from one of our certified heating and cooling technicians.

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