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

If you’re preparing to leave for vacation, your mind might go toward packing your suitcase and ensuring all your travel arrangements are in place. But you'll also want to prepare the house for your time away as well.

One common question people ask is this: What should I adjust my thermostat to while I'm gone? Your goal might be to conserve energy, but don’t be tempted to completely turn off your HVAC system. The furnace or AC unit still needs to run a little to minimize excessive heat or cold, depending on the season. Here’s what you need to know about setting your thermostat when you are gone on vacation.

Preparing the Thermostat for a Summer Vacation

If you’re traveling at the height of summer, you should expect the temperature inside your house to go up as it gets warmer outside each day. If you don't have air conditioning, the temperature can easily surpass 90 degrees inside—not good news if you’re stressed about delicate possessions.

A good guideline is to increase the thermostat 5 to 10 degrees warmer than you normally do over the course of the day without going over 85 degrees. This is the perfect compromise between reducing energy and protecting the interior of your home.

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

Setting the Thermostat for a Winter Vacation

To decide the ideal thermostat setting when on vacation in the winter, follow the same method proposed above, but in the opposite direction—that is, change the temperature 5 to 10 degrees colder than you normally do during the day without slipping below 60 degrees.

The most significant reason to heat your home while you’re out of town is to prevent frozen pipes. Your plumbing that runs along exterior walls and inside unheated spaces is at risk. Keeping the temperature at 60 degrees or warmer decreases this risk. Another great idea is to leave the cupboard doors open to help warm air move around the pipes beneath the kitchen and bathroom sinks. You will also want to shut off the water at the main shut-off valve to prevent a plumbing emergency while you’re gone.

Preparing a Smart Thermostat Before Taking a Vacation

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

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 running in your absence as it maintains the temperature you set before you left. If you’re not happy with what you discover, you can adjust the thermostat from wherever 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 alert you of unforeseen environmental changes, including a higher-than-expected temperature or excess moisture while you’re out of the house.

Other Vacation Recommendations

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

  • Don't forget about any delicate paintings, electronics or houseplants that may be sensitive to hot or cold 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 close to normal—such as 80 degrees in the summer and 65 degrees in the winter—so the environment is comfortable enough for them.
  • Close your blinds and drapes to help keep the hot sun or cold winter air out of your home. This is also a good idea if you want privacy because it prevents prying eyes from peering inside while you’re away from home.
  • Request HVAC maintenance before you leave to ensure your system operates efficiently and is unlikely to suffer from any issues while you’re away.

Contact A-PLUS Service Experts

Whether you have thermostat-related questions or are hoping to schedule HVAC maintenance before your next vacation, the HVAC professionals at A-PLUS 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 use it. Our services encompass all your HVAC preferences, from maintenance and repair to installation and replacement. Get in touch with us today to ask questions or set up a visit from one of our qualified heating and cooling technicians.

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