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

If you’re preparing to leave for vacation, your thoughts might focus on packing your suitcase and making sure all your travel arrangements are in order. 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 I'm gone? Your plan will often be to conserve energy, but you'll still want to avoid turning off your HVAC system. The furnace or AC unit needs to run a little to prevent extreme heat or cold, depending on the season. Here’s what you should know about setting your thermostat when you leave on 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 rise as it gets hotter and hotter outside each day. If you don't have air conditioning, the temperature may rapidly exceed 90 degrees inside—not good news if you’re stressed about fragile belongings.

A good suggestion is to increase the thermostat 5 to 10 degrees higher than you usually do during the day without reaching above 85 degrees. This is a great compromise between reducing energy and protecting everything inside your home.

If you own a programmable or Wi-Fi thermostat, keep in mind that a “temporary” hold will return to your standard schedule at the next programmed time. So you have to select the “permanent” or “vacation” hold setting when going out of town to make sure your chosen temperature sticks.

Adjusting the Thermostat for a Winter Vacation

To decide the best thermostat setting when on vacation in the winter, use the same technique proposed above, but backward—that is, adjust' the temperature 5 to 10 degrees lower than you normally do during the day without falling lower than 60 degrees.

The biggest reason to continue heating your home while you’re on vacation is to avoid frozen pipes. Your plumbing that runs near exterior walls and inside unheated spaces is at risk. Keeping the temperature at 60 degrees or higher decreases this risk. Another wise idea is to leave the cupboard doors open to help warm air flow around the pipes beneath your kitchen and bathroom sinks. You will also want to turn off the water at the main shut-off valve to avoid a plumbing emergency while you’re away on vacation.

Adjusting a Smart Thermostat Before Taking a Vacation

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

For instance, you can follow up on the temperature remotely via your tablet or smartphone. Figure out how regularly the AC or furnace has been active in your absence as it holds the temperature you set before you left. If you’re not happy with what you discover, you can adjust the thermostat from anyplace via your internet-enabled device. You can even set a comfortable temperature that can resume when you’re just about an hour away from home.

For even better peace of mind, Wi-Fi thermostats alert you of unexpected environmental variations, such as a higher-than-expected temperature or increased moisture while you’re out of the house.

Other Vacation Recommendations

Keep these components 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 could be sensitive to extreme temperatures.
  • If you’re leaving pets at home or have decided 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 out of your home. This also helps with privacy since it keeps prying eyes from looking inside while you’re away.
  • Request HVAC maintenance before you leave to make sure your system works correctly and is unlikely to suffer from any issues while you’re gone.

Get in Touch with Teays Valley Service Experts

Whether you have thermostat-related questions or are hoping to schedule HVAC maintenance before your tropical vacation, the HVAC experts at Teays Valley Service Experts are here to assist. We can recommend a new thermostat for your needs and even install it and demonstrate how it works. Our services cover all your HVAC requirements, from maintenance and repair to installation and replacement. Contact us today to ask questions or schedule a visit from one of our qualified heating and cooling technicians.

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