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

If you’re getting ready to go on vacation, your thoughts might focus on packing your suitcase and making sure all travel arrangements are ready to go. But don’t forget to prepare the house for your departure as well.

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

Adjusting the Thermostat for a Summer Vacation

If you’re on vacation at the height of summer, you can expect the temperature inside your house to go up as it gets warmer outside each day. With no air conditioning at all, the temperature can quickly top 90 degrees inside—not exciting news if you’re stressed about sensitive belongings.

A good suggestion is to increase the thermostat 5 to 10 degrees warmer than you typically do over the course of 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 is supposed to resume your typical 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 preferred temperature sticks.

Preparing the Thermostat for a Winter Vacation

To determine the ideal thermostat setting when on vacation in the winter, use the same means recommended above, but backward—that is, adjust' the temperature 5 to 10 degrees colder than you normally do over the course of the day without slipping below 60 degrees.

The most important reason to continue heating your home while you’re out of town is to avoid frozen pipes. Any plumbing that runs along exterior walls and inside unfinished spaces is the most at risk. Holding the temperature at 60 degrees or up decreases 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 shut off the water at the main shut-off valve to avoid a plumbing crisis while you’re away on vacation.

Preparing a Smart Thermostat Before Leaving for Vacation

If you don’t already own a Wi-Fi or “smart” thermostat, this can be an ideal time to upgrade. The latest improvements in thermostat technology feature outstanding benefits, both while you’re at home and on a trip.

For example, you can follow up on the temperature remotely via your tablet or smartphone. Figure out how regularly the AC or furnace has been active in your absence as it sustains the temperature you chose before you left. If you’re not happy 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 about an hour away from home.

For even better peace of mind, Wi-Fi thermostats notify you of sudden environmental shifts, like a higher-than-expected temperature or excessive moisture while you’re out of the house.

Additional Vacation Recommendations

Keep these factors 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 extreme temperatures.
  • If you’re leaving pets at home or have planned to have a house sitter stop by, you might 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 outside of your home. This is also a privacy measure that keeps prying eyes from looking inside while you’re gone.
  • Request HVAC maintenance before you leave to make sure your system works correctly and is unlikely to encounter any problems while you’re out of town.

Call Bob Brown Service Experts

Whether you want to ask thermostat-related questions or are wanting to arrange for HVAC maintenance before your tropical vacation, the HVAC experts at Bob Brown Service Experts are here to help. We can recommend a new thermostat for your needs and even install it and show you how to make the most of its features. Our services cover all your HVAC needs, from maintenance and repair to installation and replacement. Contact us today to ask questions or request a visit from one of our qualified heating and cooling technicians.

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