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

If you’re planning to go on vacation, your feelings might focus on packing your suitcase and seeing to it that all your travel arrangements are ready to go. But remember to prepare the house for you being gone as well.

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

Setting the Thermostat for a Summer Vacation

If you’re taking a trip at the height of summer, you can expect the temperature inside your house to go up as it gets hotter outside each day. Without air conditioning, the temperature can rapidly exceed 90 degrees inside—not exciting news if you’re stressed about fragile belongings.

A good guideline is to raise the thermostat 5 to 10 degrees warmer than you usually 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 have a programmable or Wi-Fi thermostat, don't forget that a “temporary” hold should continue your typical schedule at the next programmed time. So you have to use the “permanent” or “vacation” hold setting when going on vacation to ensure your desired temperature sticks.

Adjusting the Thermostat for a Winter Vacation

To decide the best thermostat setting when traveling in the winter, implement the same means recommended above, but in the opposite direction—that is, adjust' the temperature 5 to 10 degrees lower than you usually do over the course of the day without falling lower than 60 degrees.

The most significant reason to heat your home while you’re on vacation is to minimize the risk of frozen pipes. The plumbing that runs near exterior walls and inside unheated spaces is exposed to freezing. Holding the temperature at 60 degrees or warmer reduces this risk. Another smart idea is to keep the cupboard doors open to help warm air move around the pipes underneath your kitchen and bathroom sinks. You may also want to shut off the water at the main shut-off valve to prevent a plumbing crisis while you’re gone.

Preparing a Smart Thermostat Before Leaving for Vacation

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

As an example, you can check in on the temperature remotely using your tablet or smartphone. Figure out how frequently the AC or furnace has been active in your absence as it holds the temperature you set before you left. If you’re unhappy with what you discover, you can change the thermostat from anywhere with 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 better peace of mind, Wi-Fi thermostats notify you of unforeseen environmental variations, including a higher-than-expected temperature or increased moisture while you’re out of the house.

Other Vacation Recommendations

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

  • Consider any delicate paintings, electronics or houseplants that can be susceptible to extreme temperatures.
  • If you’re leaving pets at home or have decided to have a house sitter come by, you might 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.
  • Shut any window treatments 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 taking a look inside while you’re away.
  • Request HVAC maintenance before you head out to ensure your system operates efficiently and is unlikely to encounter any trouble while you’re gone.

Get in Touch with Barlow Service Experts

Whether you want to ask thermostat-related questions or are hoping to arrange for HVAC maintenance before your upcoming vacation, the HVAC pros at Barlow 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 it works. Our services encompass all your HVAC needs, from maintenance and repair to installation and replacement. Get in touch with us today to share questions or set up a visit from one of our qualified heating and cooling technicians.

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