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

If you’re preparing to leave for vacation, your mind might drift to packing your suitcase and seeing to it that any travel arrangements are in order. But you'll also want to prepare the house for your departure as well.

One typical question people share is this: What should I set my thermostat to while on vacation? Your intention may be to save money, but try and avoid completely turning off your HVAC system. The furnace or AC unit needs to run a little to prevent extreme heat or cold, depending on the season. Here’s what you need to consider about setting your thermostat when you leave on vacation.

Setting the Thermostat for a Summer Vacation

If you’re traveling at the pinnacle of summer, you should expect the temperature inside your house to go up as it gets warmer outside each day. If you don't have air conditioning, the temperature can quickly surpass 90 degrees inside—not happy news if you’re stressed about sensitive items.

A good rule of thumb is to increase the thermostat 5 to 10 degrees higher than you usually do during the day without exceeding 85 degrees. This is the perfect compromise between reducing energy and protecting your home’s interior.

If you own a programmable or Wi-Fi thermostat, remember that a “temporary” hold is supposed to continue your typical schedule at the next programmed time. So you should try the “permanent” or “vacation” hold setting when going on vacation to make sure your chosen temperature sticks.

Preparing the Thermostat for a Winter Vacation

To figure out the perfect thermostat setting when on vacation in the winter, implement the same method proposed above, but in reverse—that is, set the temperature 5 to 10 degrees colder than you usually do during the day without slipping lower than 60 degrees.

The most important reason to continue heating your home while you’re out of town is to prevent frozen pipes. Your plumbing that runs alongside exterior walls and in unfinished spaces is at risk. Keeping the temperature at 60 degrees or warmer limits this risk. Another smart idea is to keep the cupboard doors open to help warm air move around the pipes under your kitchen and bathroom sinks. You might also want to turn off the water at the primary shut-off valve to avoid a plumbing crisis while you’re away.

Setting a Smart Thermostat Before Taking a Vacation

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

For example, you can check in on the temperature remotely via your tablet or smartphone. Find out how regularly the AC or furnace has been active in your absence as it holds the temperature you decided on before you left. If you’re concerned with what you discover, 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 about an hour away from home.

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

More Vacation Recommendations

Keep these things in mind to ensure your home is good to go before leaving on your trip:

  • Remember any delicate paintings, electronics or houseplants that are sensitive to extreme temperatures.
  • If you’re leaving pets at home or have arranged to have a house sitter visit, you might 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 your blinds and drapes 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 absent.
  • Schedule HVAC maintenance before you go to ensure your system runs properly and is unlikely to suffer from any trouble while you’re out of town.

Get in Touch with Gordon's Service Experts

Whether you want to ask thermostat-related questions or are looking to request HVAC maintenance before your next vacation, the HVAC experts at Gordon's Service Experts are here to support you. We can suggest a new thermostat for your needs and even install it and teach you how it works. Our services encompass all your HVAC goals, from maintenance and repair to installation and replacement. Get in touch with us today to raise questions or set up a visit from one of our experienced heating and cooling technicians.

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