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

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

One frequent question people ask is this: What can I adjust my thermostat to while I'm on vacation? Your hope may be to save money, but try and avoid completely turning off your HVAC system. The furnace or AC system should still run a little to minimize severe heat or cold, depending on the season. Here’s what you need to learn about setting your thermostat when you are gone on vacation.

Preparing the Thermostat for a Summer Vacation

If you’re taking a trip at the pinnacle of summer, you should expect the temperature inside your house to rise as it gets hotter and hotter outside each day. Without air conditioning, the temperature could quickly exceed 90 degrees inside—not good news if you’re worried about fragile possessions.

A good rule of thumb is to raise the thermostat 5 to 10 degrees higher than you normally do during the day without going over 85 degrees. This is an ideal compromise between saving energy and protecting the interior of your home.

If you own a programmable or Wi-Fi thermostat, remember that a “temporary” hold should continue your standard schedule at the next programmed time. So you have to use the “permanent” or “vacation” hold setting when going out of town to ensure your chosen temperature sticks.

Adjusting the Thermostat for a Winter Vacation

To figure out the ideal thermostat setting when traveling in the winter, implement the same method recommended above, but in the opposite direction—that is, adjust' the temperature 5 to 10 degrees colder than you generally do during the day without falling lower than 60 degrees.

The biggest reason to keep your home warm while you’re out of town is to avoid frozen pipes. Any plumbing that runs along exterior walls and in unconditioned spaces is exposed to freezing. Keeping the temperature at 60 degrees or higher decreases this risk. Another smart idea is to have the cupboard doors open to help warm air flow around the pipes under your kitchen and bathroom sinks. You might also want to turn off the water at the central shut-off valve to avoid a plumbing emergency while you’re away.

Setting a Smart Thermostat Before Leaving for Vacation

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

For instance, you can check in on the temperature remotely with your tablet or smartphone. Figure out how regularly the AC or furnace has been running in your absence as it sustains the temperature you set before you left. If you’re unsatisfied with what you discover, you can change the thermostat from anyplace using 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 sudden environmental shifts, like a higher-than-expected temperature or increased moisture while you’re gone.

More Vacation Recommendations

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

  • Consider any delicate paintings, electronics or houseplants that could be sensitive to high or low temperatures.
  • If you’re leaving pets at home or have arranged 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 home 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 prevents prying eyes from peering inside while you’re away from home.
  • Schedule HVAC maintenance before you head out to make sure your system runs correctly and is unlikely to experience any issues while you’re gone.

Get in Touch with Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning

Whether you have thermostat-related questions or are hoping to schedule HVAC maintenance before your upcoming vacation, the HVAC pros at Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning are here to support you. We can point you to a new thermostat for your needs and even install it and teach you how to use it. Our services cover all your HVAC goals, from maintenance and repair to installation and replacement. Contact us today to ask questions or schedule a visit from one of our qualified heating and cooling technicians.