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

If you’re getting ready to take a vacation, your mind might go toward packing your suitcase and seeing to it that all your travel arrangements are ready to go. But remember to prepare the house for your departure as well.

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

Adjusting the Thermostat for a Summer Vacation

If you’re on vacation at the pinnacle of summer, you can expect the temperature inside your house to go up as it gets hotter and hotter outside each day. With no air conditioning at all, the temperature can rapidly surpass 90 degrees inside—not good news if you’re worried about fragile items.

A good suggestion is to increase the thermostat 5 to 10 degrees warmer than you typically do during the day without reaching above 85 degrees. This is an ideal compromise between saving energy and protecting everything inside your home.

If you own a programmable or Wi-Fi thermostat, don't forget that a “temporary” hold is supposed to resume your regular schedule at the next programmed time. So you need to use the “permanent” or “vacation” hold setting when you're on vacation to make sure your chosen temperature sticks.

Adjusting the Thermostat for a Winter Vacation

To identify the best thermostat setting when taking a trip in the winter, use the same method suggested above, but backward—that is, adjust' the temperature 5 to 10 degrees cooler than you usually do during the day without slipping lower than 60 degrees.

The most significant reason to keep your home warm while you’re away is to avoid frozen pipes. Any plumbing that runs against exterior walls and inside unfinished spaces is the most at risk. Keeping the temperature at 60 degrees or up reduces this risk. Another wise idea is to leave the cupboard doors open to help warm air flow around the pipes beneath your kitchen and bathroom sinks. You may also want to turn off the water at the primary shut-off valve to avoid a plumbing crisis while you’re away.

Preparing a Smart Thermostat Before Leaving for Vacation

If you don’t already own a Wi-Fi or “smart” thermostat, this could be an ideal time to upgrade. The latest improvements in thermostat technologies offer fantastic benefits, both while you’re at home and on vacation.

As an example, you can follow up on the temperature remotely with your tablet or smartphone. Verify how often the AC or furnace has been turning on in your absence as it maintains the temperature you decided on before you left. If you’re unhappy with what you discover, you can control the thermostat from anywhere via your internet-enabled device. You can even set a comfortable temperature that will resume when you’re just about an hour away from home.

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

Additional Vacation Recommendations

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

  • Don't forget about any delicate paintings, electronics or houseplants that are susceptible to extreme temperatures.
  • If you’re leaving pets at home or have arranged to have a house sitter stop by, you may want to leave the temperature about normal—such as 80 degrees in the summer and 65 degrees in the winter—so the conditions are comfortable enough for them.
  • Close the blinds and curtains to help keep the hot sun or cold winter air out of your home. This is also a good idea if you want privacy because it prevents prying eyes from looking inside while you’re gone.
  • Request HVAC maintenance before you head out to make sure your system operates properly and is unlikely to suffer from any problems while you’re gone.

Contact Golden Seal Service Experts

Whether you have thermostat-related questions or are hoping to request HVAC maintenance before your next vacation, the HVAC experts at Golden Seal Service Experts are here to assist. We can recommend a new thermostat for your needs and even install it and show you how to use it. Our services encompass all your HVAC requirements, from maintenance and repair to installation and replacement. Contact us today to raise questions or schedule a visit from one of our qualified heating and cooling technicians.

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