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

If you’re preparing to leave for vacation, your thoughts might go toward packing your suitcase and ensuring all travel arrangements are in order. But you'll also want to prepare the house for your departure as well.

One common question people ask is this: What should I set my thermostat to while I'm on vacation? Your plan will often be to conserve energy, but don’t be tempted to completely turn off your HVAC system. The furnace or AC unit needs to run a little to minimize excessive heat or cold, depending on the season. Here’s what you should consider about setting your thermostat when you leave for vacation.

Setting 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 rise as it gets hotter and hotter outside each day. Without air conditioning, the temperature can easily exceed 90 degrees inside—not exciting news if you’re worried about sensitive possessions.

A good guideline is to adjust the thermostat 5 to 10 degrees higher than you usually do during the day without exceeding 85 degrees. This is a great compromise between reducing energy and protecting everything inside your home.

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

Preparing the Thermostat for a Winter Vacation

To determine the ideal thermostat setting when taking a trip in the winter, use the same means proposed above, but in the opposite direction—that is, set the temperature 5 to 10 degrees lower than you normally do throughout the day without slipping lower than 60 degrees.

The most important reason to continue heating your home while you’re out of town is to prevent frozen pipes. Any plumbing that runs alongside exterior walls and inside unconditioned spaces is at risk. Maintaining the temperature at 60 degrees or warmer decreases this risk. Another great idea is to keep the cupboard doors open to help warm air circulate around the pipes underneath the kitchen and bathroom sinks. You will also want to shut off the water at the main shut-off valve to protect against a plumbing emergency while you’re gone.

Preparing a Smart Thermostat Before Going on Vacation

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

For instance, you can check in on the temperature remotely via your tablet or smartphone. Figure out how frequently the AC or furnace has been turning on in your absence as it holds the temperature you chose before you left. If you’re not happy with what you discover, you can change the thermostat from anyplace with your internet-enabled device. You can even set a comfortable temperature to resume when you’re under an hour away from home.

For even better peace of mind, Wi-Fi thermostats notify you of unforeseen environmental changes, including a higher-than-expected temperature or excess moisture while you’re out of the house.

More 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 can be sensitive to high or low 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 closer to normal—such as 80 degrees in the summer and 65 degrees in the winter—so the environment is comfortable enough for them.
  • Shut the blinds and curtains to help keep the hot sun or cold winter air away from your home. This is also a privacy measure that prevents prying eyes from taking a look inside while you’re away.
  • Arrange for HVAC maintenance before you go to make sure your system runs correctly and is unlikely to experience any issues while you’re gone.

Contact Midland Air Service Experts

Whether you want to ask thermostat-related questions or are hoping to arrange for HVAC maintenance before your tropical vacation, the HVAC pros at Midland Air Service Experts are here to support you. We can suggest a new thermostat for your needs and even install it and teach you how it works. Our services encompass all your HVAC requirements, 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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