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 making sure all travel arrangements are in place. But don’t forget 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 on vacation? Your intention may be to reduce costs, but try and avoid completely turning off your HVAC system. The furnace or AC system still needs to run a little to avoid excessive heat or cold, depending on the season. Here’s what you need to consider about setting your thermostat when you leave for vacation.

Setting the Thermostat for a Summer Vacation

If you’re traveling at the peak of summer, you can expect the temperature inside your house to rise as it gets hotter and hotter outside each day. With no air conditioning at all, the temperature could quickly top 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 exceeding 85 degrees. This is the perfect 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 will 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 determine the best thermostat setting when on vacation in the winter, follow the same method recommended above, but in reverse—that is, adjust' the temperature 5 to 10 degrees cooler than you usually do during the day without dropping under 60 degrees.

The most important reason to heat your home while you’re away is to prevent frozen pipes. The plumbing that runs alongside exterior walls and inside unheated spaces is exposed to freezing. Holding the temperature at 60 degrees or higher limits this risk. Another smart idea is to keep the cupboard doors open to help warm air move around the pipes under the kitchen and bathroom sinks. You may also want to shut off the water at the primary shut-off valve to protect against a plumbing disaster while you’re away on vacation.

Setting a Smart Thermostat Before Taking a Vacation

If you don’t already own 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 vacation.

For example, you can check in on the temperature remotely using your tablet or smartphone. Find out how often the AC or furnace has been turning on in your absence as it maintains the temperature you set before you left. If you’re unsatisfied with what you see, you can change the thermostat from anyplace 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 more peace of mind, Wi-Fi thermostats alert you of unforeseen environmental changes, like a higher-than-expected temperature or excessive moisture while you’re away from home.

Other Vacation Recommendations

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

  • Remember any delicate paintings, electronics or houseplants that can be susceptible to hot or cold temperatures.
  • If you’re leaving pets at home or have arranged to have a house sitter visit, you may want to leave the temperature close to normal—such as 80 degrees in the summer and 65 degrees in the winter—so the home is comfortable enough for them.
  • Shut any window treatments to help keep the hot sun or cold winter air away from your home. This is also a privacy measure that prevents prying eyes from taking a look inside while you’re away from home.
  • Request HVAC maintenance before you head out to ensure your system operates correctly and is unlikely to suffer from any trouble while you’re gone.

Call Pardee Service Experts

Whether you have thermostat-related questions or are wanting to schedule HVAC maintenance before your next vacation, the HVAC experts at Pardee Service Experts are here to assist. We can point you to a new thermostat for your needs and even install it and teach you how to make the most of its features. Our services cover all your HVAC goals, from maintenance and repair to installation and replacement. Get in touch with us today to share questions or schedule a visit from one of our certified heating and cooling technicians.

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