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

If you’re preparing to take a vacation, your mind might focus on packing your suitcase and making sure any travel arrangements are in order. But don’t forget to prepare the house for your time away as well.

One typical question people have is this: What should I set my thermostat to while I'm gone? Your intention may be to save money, but you'll still want to avoid turning off your HVAC system. The furnace or AC system needs to run a little to avoid extreme heat or cold, depending on the season. Here’s what you have to know about setting your thermostat when you leave for vacation.

Preparing the Thermostat for a Summer Vacation

If you’re taking a trip at the pinnacle of summer, you can generally expect the temperature inside your house to go up as it gets hotter and hotter outside each day. If you don't have air conditioning, the temperature may easily surpass 90 degrees inside—not happy news if you’re stressed about delicate possessions.

A good rule of thumb is to increase the thermostat 5 to 10 degrees warmer than you usually do during the day without reaching above 85 degrees. This is a good compromise between conserving energy and protecting the interior of your home.

If you prefer a programmable or Wi-Fi thermostat, don't forget that a “temporary” hold should continue your regular schedule at the next programmed time. So you have to try the “permanent” or “vacation” hold setting when going out of town to see to it that your chosen temperature sticks.

Setting the Thermostat for a Winter Vacation

To identify the ideal thermostat setting when taking a trip in the winter, implement the same means proposed above, but backward—that is, change the temperature 5 to 10 degrees lower than you usually do throughout the day without dropping below 60 degrees.

The most important reason to continue heating your home while you’re away is to minimize the risk of frozen pipes. The plumbing that runs along exterior walls and in unheated spaces is at risk. Maintaining the temperature at 60 degrees or higher decreases this risk. Another good idea is to have the cupboard doors open to help warm air flow around the pipes underneath the kitchen and bathroom sinks. You might also want to turn off the water at the main shut-off valve to protect against a plumbing disaster while you’re gone.

Preparing a Smart Thermostat Before Leaving for Vacation

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

For instance, you can check in on the temperature remotely via your tablet or smartphone. Find out how frequently the AC or furnace has been active in your absence as it maintains the temperature you chose before you left. If you’re unsatisfied with what you see, you can adjust the thermostat from anywhere using your internet-enabled device. You can even set a comfortable temperature that can resume when you’re just about 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 excess moisture while you’re gone.

Other Vacation Recommendations

Keep these factors in mind to make sure your home is good to go before going on your trip:

  • Don't forget about any delicate paintings, electronics or houseplants that may be sensitive to high or low temperatures.
  • If you’re leaving pets at home or have decided to have a house sitter visit, 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 any window treatments to help keep the hot sun or cold winter air outside of your home. This also helps with privacy since it stops prying eyes from peering inside while you’re gone.
  • Schedule HVAC maintenance before you go to make sure your system operates properly and is unlikely to suffer from any trouble while you’re out of town.

Get in Touch with Becht/Givens Service Experts

Whether you need to address thermostat-related questions or are hoping to request HVAC maintenance before your tropical vacation, the HVAC professionals at Becht/Givens Service Experts are here to help. We can point you to a new thermostat for your needs and even install it and demonstrate how to make the most of its features. Our services cover all your HVAC requirements, from maintenance and repair to installation and replacement. Contact us today to ask questions or schedule a visit from one of our certified heating and cooling technicians.

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