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

If you’re getting ready to leave for vacation, your feelings might lean toward packing your suitcase and seeing to it that any travel arrangements are in place. But remember to prepare the house for your departure as well.

One typical question people ask is this: What will I need to adjust my thermostat to while on vacation? Your plan will often be to conserve energy, but you'll still want to avoid turning off your HVAC system. The furnace or air conditioner still needs to run a little to prevent excessive heat or cold, depending on the season. Here’s what you need to consider about setting your thermostat when you are gone on vacation.

Setting the Thermostat for a Summer Vacation

If you’re on vacation at the height of summer, you can generally expect the temperature inside your house to go up as it gets warmer outside each day. With no air conditioning at all, the temperature could easily exceed 90 degrees inside—not good news if you’re concerned about delicate belongings.

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

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

Adjusting the Thermostat for a Winter Vacation

To figure out the ideal thermostat setting when traveling in the winter, follow the same means suggested above, but in reverse—that is, change the temperature 5 to 10 degrees cooler than you normally do over the course of the day without slipping lower than 60 degrees.

The most important reason to keep your home warm while you’re out of town is to avoid frozen pipes. Any plumbing that runs alongside exterior walls and through unheated spaces is at risk. Holding the temperature at 60 degrees or up limits this risk. Another good idea is to keep the cupboard doors open to help warm air circulate around the pipes beneath the kitchen and bathroom sinks. You might also want to shut off the water at the central shut-off valve to protect against a plumbing crisis 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 can be a great time to upgrade. The latest improvements in thermostat systems offer outstanding benefits, both while you’re at home and away.

For example, you can check on the temperature remotely via your tablet or smartphone. Determine how regularly the AC or furnace has been active in your absence as it sustains the temperature you decided on before you left. If you’re not happy with what you discover, you can control the thermostat from anywhere with your internet-enabled device. You can even set a comfortable temperature to resume when you’re close to an hour away from home.

For even greater peace of mind, Wi-Fi thermostats alert you of sudden environmental shifts, like a higher-than-expected temperature or excess moisture while you’re away from home.

Other Vacation Recommendations

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

  • Consider any delicate paintings, electronics or houseplants that could be susceptible to hot or cold temperatures.
  • If you’re leaving pets at home or have decided to have a house sitter visit, you will want to leave the temperature about 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 is also a privacy measure that keeps prying eyes from peering inside while you’re absent.
  • Request HVAC maintenance before you go to ensure your system runs correctly and is unlikely to encounter any issues while you’re gone.

Get in Touch with A1 Chesney Service Experts

Whether you want to ask thermostat-related questions or are looking to request HVAC maintenance before your next vacation, the HVAC professionals at A1 Chesney Service Experts are here to help. 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 requirements, from maintenance and repair to installation and replacement. Call us today to ask questions or set up a visit from one of our certified heating and cooling technicians.

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