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

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

One common question people ask is this: What will I need to adjust my thermostat to while on vacation? Your hope will often be to reduce costs, but you'll still want to avoid turning off your HVAC system. The furnace or air conditioner still needs to run a little to minimize severe heat or cold, depending on the season. Here’s what you should learn about setting your thermostat when you leave on vacation.

Preparing the Thermostat for a Summer Vacation

If you’re on vacation at the peak of summer, you can generally expect the temperature inside your house to increase as it gets hotter and hotter outside each day. Without air conditioning, the temperature can rapidly top 90 degrees inside—not happy news if you’re stressed about sensitive items.

A good rule of thumb is to increase the thermostat 5 to 10 degrees warmer than you typically do during the day without going over 85 degrees. This is a great compromise between conserving energy and protecting everything inside your home.

If you own 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 have to try the “permanent” or “vacation” hold setting when you're on vacation to ensure your chosen temperature sticks.

Preparing the Thermostat for a Winter Vacation

To decide the perfect thermostat setting when traveling in the winter, follow the same technique proposed above, but in reverse—that is, set the temperature 5 to 10 degrees cooler than you generally do during the day without falling below 60 degrees.

The most important reason to keep your home warm while you’re out of town is to avoid frozen pipes. Your plumbing that runs near exterior walls and through unfinished spaces is the most at risk. Maintaining the temperature at 60 degrees or up lowers this risk. Another good idea is to keep 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 gone.

Adjusting a Smart Thermostat Before Leaving for Vacation

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

As an example, you can check in on the temperature remotely using your tablet or smartphone. Figure out how frequently the AC or furnace has been running in your absence as it sustains the temperature you set before you left. If you’re concerned with what you see, you can adjust the thermostat from wherever with your internet-enabled device. You can even set a comfortable temperature to resume when you’re under an hour away from home.

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

More Vacation Recommendations

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

  • Consider any delicate paintings, electronics or houseplants that may be vulnerable to extreme temperatures.
  • If you’re leaving pets at home or have planned to have a house sitter stop by, you will 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 the blinds and curtains 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 taking a look inside while you’re absent.
  • Schedule HVAC maintenance before you go to ensure your system runs efficiently and is unlikely to encounter any issues while you’re away.

Call Strand Brothers Service Experts

Whether you need to address thermostat-related questions or are looking to arrange for HVAC maintenance before your upcoming vacation, the HVAC professionals at Strand Brothers Service Experts are here to help. We can point you to a new thermostat for your needs and even install it and demonstrate how it works. Our services include all your HVAC needs, from maintenance and repair to installation and replacement. Get in touch with us today to ask questions or request a visit from one of our qualified heating and cooling technicians.

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