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

If you’re getting ready to take a vacation, your thoughts might go toward packing your suitcase and making sure any travel arrangements are in place. But you'll also want to prepare the house for you being gone as well.

One typical question people ask is this: What will I need to adjust my thermostat to while I'm on vacation? Your hope will often be to save money, but you'll still want to avoid turning off your HVAC system. The furnace or AC system should still run a little to minimize extreme heat or cold, depending on the season. Here’s what you need to consider about setting your thermostat when you are gone on vacation.

Setting the Thermostat for a Summer Vacation

If you’re traveling at the peak of summer, you can generally expect the temperature inside your house to go up as it gets warmer outside each day. With no air conditioning at all, the temperature may quickly top 90 degrees inside—not good news if you’re stressed about sensitive possessions.

A good guideline is to adjust the thermostat 5 to 10 degrees warmer than you ordinarily do throughout the day without reaching above 85 degrees. This is the perfect compromise between reducing energy and protecting everything inside your home.

If you prefer a programmable or Wi-Fi thermostat, don't forget that a “temporary” hold will resume your typical schedule at the next programmed time. So you have to try the “permanent” or “vacation” hold setting when you're on vacation to make sure your preferred temperature sticks.

Preparing the Thermostat for a Winter Vacation

To figure out the ideal thermostat setting when taking a trip in the winter, implement the same means suggested above, but in the opposite direction—that is, change the temperature 5 to 10 degrees lower than you generally do throughout the day without slipping under 60 degrees.

The most important reason to heat your home while you’re out of town is to avoid frozen pipes. The plumbing that runs against exterior walls and inside unconditioned spaces is at risk. Maintaining the temperature at 60 degrees or higher reduces this risk. Another good idea is to leave the cupboard doors open to help warm air move around the pipes beneath your kitchen and bathroom sinks. You may also want to shut off the water at the primary shut-off valve to protect against a plumbing disaster while you’re gone.

Preparing a Smart Thermostat Before Going on Vacation

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

For example, you can follow up on the temperature remotely using your tablet or smartphone. Find out how often the AC or furnace has been running in your absence as it holds the temperature you decided on before you left. If you’re concerned with what you find, you can change the thermostat from wherever with 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 greater peace of mind, Wi-Fi thermostats alert you of sudden environmental shifts, such as a higher-than-expected temperature or excess moisture while you’re gone.

More Vacation Recommendations

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

  • Remember any delicate paintings, electronics or houseplants that can be vulnerable to hot or cold temperatures.
  • If you’re leaving pets at home or have arranged to have a house sitter stop by, you may want to leave the temperature closer to normal—such as 80 degrees in the summer and 65 degrees in the winter—so the home is comfortable enough for them.
  • Close your blinds and drapes to help keep the hot sun or cold winter air outside of your home. This also helps with privacy since it prevents prying eyes from peering inside while you’re away from home.
  • Schedule HVAC maintenance before you go to make sure your system operates efficiently and is unlikely to encounter any issues while you’re away.

Call Chief/Bauer Service Experts

Whether you need to address thermostat-related questions or are wanting to request HVAC maintenance before your upcoming vacation, the HVAC professionals at Chief/Bauer Service Experts are here to support you. We can point you to a new thermostat for your needs and even install it and teach you how to make the most of its features. Our services cover all your HVAC requirements, from maintenance and repair to installation and replacement. Get in touch with us today to raise questions or request a visit from one of our certified heating and cooling technicians.

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