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

If you’re planning to go on vacation, your mind might drift to packing your suitcase and making sure all travel arrangements are in order. But you'll also want to prepare the house for your time away as well.

One common question people share is this: What can I adjust my thermostat to while I'm gone? Your hope might be to save money, but try and avoid completely turning off your HVAC system. The furnace or AC system should still run a little to minimize extreme heat or cold, depending on the season. Here’s what you need to consider about setting your thermostat when you leave for vacation.

Setting the Thermostat for a Summer Vacation

If you’re traveling at the peak of summer, you should expect the temperature inside your house to go up as it gets warmer outside each day. If you don't have air conditioning, the temperature may rapidly exceed 90 degrees inside—not good news if you’re worried about fragile items.

A good suggestion 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 a good compromise between saving energy and protecting the interior of your home.

If you own a programmable or Wi-Fi thermostat, remember that a “temporary” hold should continue your standard schedule at the next programmed time. So you should use the “permanent” or “vacation” hold setting when going on vacation to make sure your preferred temperature sticks.

Adjusting the Thermostat for a Winter Vacation

To decide the perfect thermostat setting when on vacation in the winter, follow the same method suggested above, but in the opposite direction—that is, adjust' the temperature 5 to 10 degrees lower than you normally do during the day without dropping under 60 degrees.

The most significant reason to keep your home warm while you’re out of town is to minimize the risk of frozen pipes. The plumbing that runs against exterior walls and in unconditioned spaces is at risk. Keeping the temperature at 60 degrees or up limits this risk. Another smart idea is to keep the cupboard doors open to help warm air flow around the pipes under your kitchen and bathroom sinks. You may also want to turn off the water at the central shut-off valve to avoid a plumbing disaster while you’re away.

Adjusting a Smart Thermostat Before Taking a Vacation

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

For example, you can check in on the temperature remotely using your tablet or smartphone. Find out how frequently the AC or furnace has been active in your absence as it sustains the temperature you set before you left. If you’re unhappy with what you discover, you can change the thermostat from wherever 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 better peace of mind, Wi-Fi thermostats alert you of sudden environmental variations, like a higher-than-expected temperature or excess moisture while you’re gone.

More Vacation Recommendations

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

  • Consider any delicate paintings, electronics or houseplants that may be susceptible to extreme temperatures.
  • If you’re leaving pets at home or have arranged 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 environment is comfortable enough for them.
  • Shut any window treatments to help keep the hot sun or cold winter air outside of your home. This is also a good idea if you want privacy because it prevents prying eyes from looking inside while you’re absent.
  • Schedule HVAC maintenance before you go to make sure your system works efficiently and is unlikely to encounter any trouble while you’re out of town.

Call Levy & Son Service Experts

Whether you have thermostat-related questions or are wanting to schedule HVAC maintenance before your tropical vacation, the HVAC pros at Levy & Son Service Experts are here to help. We can point you to a new thermostat for your needs and even install it and demonstrate how to use it. Our services cover all your HVAC needs, from maintenance and repair to installation and replacement. Get in touch with us today to ask questions or request a visit from one of our experienced heating and cooling technicians.

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