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

If you’re planning to leave for vacation, your thoughts might lean toward packing your suitcase and making sure 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 goal may be to save money, but don’t be tempted to completely turn off your HVAC system. The furnace or air conditioner should still run a little to avoid severe heat or cold, depending on the season. Here’s what you need to consider about setting your thermostat when you leave for vacation.

Adjusting the Thermostat for a Summer Vacation

If you’re on vacation at the peak of summer, you can expect the temperature inside your house to increase as it gets warmer outside each day. Without air conditioning, the temperature may quickly top 90 degrees inside—not exciting news if you’re stressed about fragile possessions.

A good suggestion is to raise the thermostat 5 to 10 degrees higher than you usually do during the day without going over 85 degrees. This is a good compromise between reducing energy and protecting everything inside your home.

If you have a programmable or Wi-Fi thermostat, remember that a “temporary” hold should continue your standard schedule at the next programmed time. So you have to select the “permanent” or “vacation” hold setting when you're on vacation to see to it that your desired temperature sticks.

Setting the Thermostat for a Winter Vacation

To determine the perfect thermostat setting when traveling in the winter, follow the same means recommended above, but backward—that is, set the temperature 5 to 10 degrees colder than you usually do during the day without dropping lower than 60 degrees.

The most significant reason to heat your home while you’re out of town is to avoid frozen pipes. Your plumbing that runs along exterior walls and through unfinished spaces is at risk. Holding the temperature at 60 degrees or higher decreases this risk. Another great idea is to keep the cupboard doors open to help warm air move around the pipes under your kitchen and bathroom sinks. You will also want to shut off the water at the central shut-off valve to protect against a plumbing disaster while you’re gone.

Setting a Smart Thermostat Before Going on Vacation

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

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

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

More Vacation Recommendations

Keep these components in mind to ensure your home is good to go before going on your trip:

  • Consider any delicate paintings, electronics or houseplants that could be sensitive to high or low temperatures.
  • If you’re leaving pets at home or have planned to have a house sitter stop by, you will 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 out 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 head out to ensure your system works properly and is unlikely to encounter any problems while you’re gone.

Get in Touch with BW/Cook Service Experts

Whether you have thermostat-related questions or are hoping to schedule HVAC maintenance before your tropical vacation, the HVAC professionals at BW/Cook Service Experts are here to support you. 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 schedule a visit from one of our certified heating and cooling technicians.

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