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

If you’re planning to go on vacation, your thoughts might lean toward packing your suitcase and making sure all your travel arrangements are in order. But don’t forget to prepare the house for your time away as well.

One frequent question people share is this: What can I set my thermostat to while I'm on vacation? Your goal might be to save money, but you'll still want to avoid turning off your HVAC system. The furnace or AC unit still needs to run a little to prevent excessive heat or cold, depending on the season. Here’s what you should learn about setting your thermostat when you leave for vacation.

Setting 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 could quickly surpass 90 degrees inside—not good news if you’re stressed about fragile items.

A good rule of thumb is to adjust the thermostat 5 to 10 degrees higher than you usually do during the day without exceeding 85 degrees. This is a good compromise between saving energy and protecting everything inside your home.

If you own a programmable or Wi-Fi thermostat, remember that a “temporary” hold will continue your typical schedule at the next programmed time. So you have to select the “permanent” or “vacation” hold setting when going out of town to make sure your desired temperature sticks.

Setting the Thermostat for a Winter Vacation

To identify the best thermostat setting when taking a trip in the winter, follow the same method recommended above, but backward—that is, set the temperature 5 to 10 degrees cooler than you normally do during the day without slipping lower than 60 degrees.

The biggest reason to continue heating your home while you’re away is to prevent frozen pipes. The plumbing that runs along exterior walls and in unfinished spaces is exposed to freezing. Keeping the temperature at 60 degrees or warmer 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 will also want to turn off the water at the main shut-off valve to avoid a plumbing crisis while you’re gone.

Setting a Smart Thermostat Before Taking a Vacation

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

For instance, you can follow up on the temperature remotely with your tablet or smartphone. Find out how often the AC or furnace has been active in your absence as it holds the temperature you chose before you left. If you’re not happy with what you see, you can control the thermostat from anyplace using your internet-enabled device. You can even set a comfortable temperature that can resume when you’re about an hour away from home.

For even greater peace of mind, Wi-Fi thermostats notify you of unexpected environmental variations, including a higher-than-expected temperature or excessive moisture while you’re gone.

More Vacation Recommendations

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

  • Don't forget about any delicate paintings, electronics or houseplants that may be susceptible to hot or cold 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 environment is comfortable enough for them.
  • Shut any window treatments 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 taking a look inside while you’re away.
  • Arrange for HVAC maintenance before you leave to make sure your system operates efficiently and is unlikely to encounter any problems while you’re gone.

Contact Fras-Air/General Service Experts

Whether you need to address thermostat-related questions or are wanting to arrange for HVAC maintenance before your tropical vacation, the HVAC experts at Fras-Air/General Service Experts are here to help. We can suggest 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 preferences, from maintenance and repair to installation and replacement. Call us today to share questions or schedule a visit from one of our certified heating and cooling technicians.

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