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

If you’re getting ready to take a vacation, your mind might focus on packing your suitcase and seeing to it that all travel arrangements are in place. But don’t forget to prepare the house for you being gone as well.

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

Adjusting 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. Without air conditioning, the temperature may quickly top 90 degrees inside—not exciting news if you’re concerned about delicate belongings.

A good rule of thumb is to increase the thermostat 5 to 10 degrees warmer than you ordinarily do throughout the day without going over 85 degrees. This is a great compromise between conserving energy and protecting your home’s interior.

If you have a programmable or Wi-Fi thermostat, keep in mind that a “temporary” hold is supposed to continue your typical 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.

Preparing the Thermostat for a Winter Vacation

To figure out the ideal thermostat setting when on vacation in the winter, implement the same method proposed above, but backward—that is, change the temperature 5 to 10 degrees lower than you generally do over the course of the day without falling below 60 degrees.

The most significant reason to heat your home while you’re away is to prevent frozen pipes. Any plumbing that runs alongside exterior walls and in unheated spaces is exposed to freezing. Holding the temperature at 60 degrees or warmer limits this risk. Another good idea is to keep the cupboard doors open to help warm air flow around the pipes under your kitchen and bathroom sinks. You might also want to shut off the water at the main shut-off valve to prevent a plumbing emergency while you’re away on vacation.

Adjusting a Smart Thermostat Before Taking a Vacation

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

As an example, you can check in on the temperature remotely using your tablet or smartphone. Determine how regularly the AC or furnace has been running in your absence as it maintains the temperature you decided on before you left. If you’re unsatisfied with what you discover, you can adjust the thermostat from anywhere via your internet-enabled device. You can even set a comfortable temperature that will resume when you’re under an hour away from home.

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

Other Vacation Recommendations

Keep these factors 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 are vulnerable to high or low temperatures.
  • If you’re leaving pets at home or have decided to have a house sitter visit, 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 conditions are comfortable enough for them.
  • Shut your blinds and drapes to help keep the hot sun or cold winter air outside of your home. This is also a good idea if you want privacy because it prevents prying eyes from taking a look inside while you’re away from home.
  • Schedule HVAC maintenance before you go to make sure your system runs efficiently and is unlikely to encounter any trouble while you’re gone.

Contact Parker Pearce Service Experts

Whether you need to address thermostat-related questions or are hoping to schedule HVAC maintenance before your next vacation, the HVAC pros at Parker Pearce Service Experts are here to support you. We can suggest a new thermostat for your needs and even install it and show you how to make the most of its features. Our services cover all your HVAC goals, from maintenance and repair to installation and replacement. Contact us today to share questions or request a visit from one of our experienced heating and cooling technicians.

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