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

If you’re getting ready to leave for vacation, your feelings might go toward packing your suitcase and ensuring any travel arrangements are ready to go. But remember to prepare the house for you being gone as well.

One common question people ask is this: What will I need to set my thermostat to while I'm gone? Your intention will often be to save money, but don’t be tempted to completely turn off your HVAC system. The furnace or AC system needs to run a little to minimize severe heat or cold, depending on the season. Here’s what you need to know about setting your thermostat when you leave for vacation.

Adjusting the Thermostat for a Summer Vacation

If you’re on vacation at the peak of summer, you should expect the temperature inside your house to increase as it gets hotter outside each day. With no air conditioning at all, the temperature may easily exceed 90 degrees inside—not happy news if you’re stressed about sensitive possessions.

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

If you own a programmable or Wi-Fi thermostat, don't forget that a “temporary” hold should continue your typical schedule at the next programmed time. So you should select the “permanent” or “vacation” hold setting when you're on vacation to ensure your desired temperature sticks.

Setting the Thermostat for a Winter Vacation

To determine the best thermostat setting when on vacation in the winter, follow the same means recommended above, but in reverse—that is, adjust' the temperature 5 to 10 degrees cooler than you generally do over the course of the day without falling lower than 60 degrees.

The biggest reason to keep your home warm while you’re on vacation is to prevent frozen pipes. The plumbing that runs against exterior walls and inside unconditioned spaces is exposed to freezing. Keeping the temperature at 60 degrees or higher reduces this risk. Another smart idea is to have 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 primary shut-off valve to prevent a plumbing crisis while you’re away.

Preparing a Smart Thermostat Before Leaving for Vacation

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

For example, you can check in on the temperature remotely with your tablet or smartphone. Find out how often the AC or furnace has been running in your absence as it holds the temperature you chose before you left. If you’re not happy with what you find, you can control the thermostat from wherever via your internet-enabled device. You can even set a comfortable temperature that will resume when you’re close to an hour away from home.

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

Additional Vacation Recommendations

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

  • Remember any delicate paintings, electronics or houseplants that are vulnerable to extreme temperatures.
  • If you’re leaving pets at home or have arranged to have a house sitter visit, 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 environment is comfortable enough for them.
  • Close your blinds and drapes to help keep the hot sun or cold winter air away from your home. This also helps with privacy since it stops prying eyes from peering inside while you’re gone.
  • Arrange for HVAC maintenance before you head out to make sure your system runs efficiently and is unlikely to encounter any issues while you’re away.

Contact D.A. Bennett Service Experts

Whether you need to address thermostat-related questions or are wanting to schedule HVAC maintenance before your upcoming vacation, the HVAC pros at D.A. Bennett Service Experts are here to assist. We can recommend a new thermostat for your needs and even install it and demonstrate how to make the most of its features. Our services include all your HVAC goals, from maintenance and repair to installation and replacement. Get in touch with us today to raise questions or schedule a visit from one of our experienced heating and cooling technicians.

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