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

If you’re getting ready to leave for vacation, your feelings 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 common question people share is this: What will I need to set my thermostat to while I'm gone? Your hope may be to conserve energy, but try and avoid completely turning off your HVAC system. The furnace or air conditioner should still run a little to avoid excessive heat or cold, depending on the season. Here’s what you have to consider about setting your thermostat when you are gone on vacation.

Adjusting the Thermostat for a Summer Vacation

If you’re on vacation at the height of summer, you can generally expect the temperature inside your house to go up as it gets hotter and hotter outside each day. If you don't have air conditioning, the temperature could rapidly top 90 degrees inside—not good news if you’re stressed about delicate belongings.

A good rule of thumb is to increase the thermostat 5 to 10 degrees warmer than you ordinarily do during the day without exceeding 85 degrees. This is an ideal compromise between conserving energy and protecting everything inside your home.

If you have a programmable or Wi-Fi thermostat, keep in mind that a “temporary” hold will return to your typical schedule at the next programmed time. So you should try 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 decide the best thermostat setting when on vacation in the winter, follow the same technique suggested above, but backward—that is, adjust' the temperature 5 to 10 degrees colder than you generally do throughout the day without dropping below 60 degrees.

The biggest reason to keep your home warm while you’re away is to prevent frozen pipes. Any plumbing that runs near exterior walls and through unfinished spaces is exposed to freezing. Keeping the temperature at 60 degrees or warmer decreases this risk. Another smart idea is to have the cupboard doors open to help warm air circulate around the pipes underneath your kitchen and bathroom sinks. You will also want to turn off the water at the central shut-off valve to avoid a plumbing crisis while you’re away on vacation.

Adjusting 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 technology provide outstanding benefits, both while you’re at home and away.

For instance, you can check in on the temperature remotely with your tablet or smartphone. Figure out how regularly the AC or furnace has been active in your absence as it sustains the temperature you decided on before you left. If you’re concerned with what you find, you can change the thermostat from wherever via 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 unexpected environmental changes, such as a higher-than-expected temperature or excessive moisture while you’re gone.

Additional Vacation Recommendations

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

  • Consider any delicate paintings, electronics or houseplants that may be vulnerable to high or low temperatures.
  • If you’re leaving pets at home or have arranged to have a house sitter visit, you may want to leave the temperature close to normal—such as 80 degrees in the summer and 65 degrees in the winter—so the conditions are comfortable enough for them.
  • Close your blinds and drapes to help keep the hot sun or cold winter air outside of your home. This also helps with privacy since it prevents prying eyes from taking a look inside while you’re gone.
  • Schedule HVAC maintenance before you leave to make sure your system runs correctly and is unlikely to encounter any issues while you’re gone.

Call Strogen's Service Experts

Whether you want to ask thermostat-related questions or are looking to arrange for HVAC maintenance before your tropical vacation, the HVAC experts at Strogen's 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 to make the most of its features. Our services encompass all your HVAC goals, from maintenance and repair to installation and replacement. Contact us today to ask questions or schedule a visit from one of our experienced heating and cooling technicians.

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