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

If you’re getting ready to go on vacation, your mind might focus on packing your suitcase and making sure all travel arrangements are in order. But remember to prepare the house for your time away as well.

One common question people have is this: What will I need to adjust my thermostat to while on vacation? Your goal will often be to conserve energy, but try and avoid completely turning 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 consider about setting your thermostat when you leave on vacation.

Adjusting 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. With no air conditioning at all, the temperature can quickly exceed 90 degrees inside—not good news if you’re stressed about delicate possessions.

A good guideline is to raise the thermostat 5 to 10 degrees warmer than you normally do over the course of the day without reaching above 85 degrees. This is an ideal compromise between saving energy and protecting your home’s interior.

If you own a programmable or Wi-Fi thermostat, remember that a “temporary” hold will continue your regular 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 identify the best thermostat setting when traveling in the winter, implement the same technique recommended above, but in the opposite direction—that is, set the temperature 5 to 10 degrees colder than you generally do over the course of the day without slipping under 60 degrees.

The most important reason to heat your home while you’re away is to minimize the risk of frozen pipes. The plumbing that runs against exterior walls and inside unconditioned spaces is the most at risk. Maintaining the temperature at 60 degrees or up reduces this risk. Another good idea is to have the cupboard doors open to help warm air flow around the pipes beneath your kitchen and bathroom sinks. You might also want to turn off the water at the main shut-off valve to prevent a plumbing emergency while you’re away on vacation.

Preparing a Smart Thermostat Before Going on Vacation

If you don’t already have a Wi-Fi or “smart” thermostat, this may be a great time to upgrade. The latest advancements in thermostat technology provide fantastic benefits, both while you’re at home and away.

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

For even greater peace of mind, Wi-Fi thermostats notify you of unforeseen environmental changes, such as a higher-than-expected temperature or increased moisture while you’re gone.

Additional Vacation Recommendations

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

  • Remember any delicate paintings, electronics or houseplants that may be vulnerable to high or low temperatures.
  • If you’re leaving pets at home or have decided to have a house sitter visit, you may 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 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 stops prying eyes from taking a look inside while you’re gone.
  • Schedule HVAC maintenance before you go to ensure your system works properly and is unlikely to suffer from any problems while you’re gone.

Contact Roland J. Down Service Experts

Whether you want to ask thermostat-related questions or are wanting to request HVAC maintenance before your upcoming vacation, the HVAC pros at Roland J. Down Service Experts 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 requirements, from maintenance and repair to installation and replacement. Call us today to share questions or schedule a visit from one of our experienced heating and cooling technicians.

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