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

If you’re preparing to take a vacation, your mind might drift to packing your suitcase and seeing to it that any travel arrangements are in place. But remember to prepare the house for your departure as well.

One typical question people have is this: What should I adjust my thermostat to while on vacation? Your plan might be to reduce costs, but don’t be tempted to completely turn off your HVAC system. The furnace or AC system needs to run a little to avoid excessive heat or cold, depending on the season. Here’s what you should 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 peak of summer, you can generally expect the temperature inside your house to increase as it gets hotter and hotter outside each day. Without air conditioning, the temperature could easily surpass 90 degrees inside—not exciting news if you’re stressed about fragile possessions.

A good guideline is to increase the thermostat 5 to 10 degrees warmer than you usually do over the course of the day without going over 85 degrees. This is a great compromise between conserving energy and protecting the interior of your home.

If you own a programmable or Wi-Fi thermostat, keep in mind that a “temporary” hold will return to your standard schedule at the next programmed time. So you have to use the “permanent” or “vacation” hold setting when going out of town to see to it that your chosen temperature sticks.

Setting the Thermostat for a Winter Vacation

To determine the ideal thermostat setting when taking a trip in the winter, implement the same means proposed above, but backward—that is, adjust' the temperature 5 to 10 degrees colder than you generally do during the day without falling below 60 degrees.

The most important reason to heat your home while you’re away is to minimize the risk of frozen pipes. The plumbing that runs alongside exterior walls and inside unfinished spaces is the most at risk. Keeping the temperature at 60 degrees or warmer lowers this risk. Another good idea is to leave the cupboard doors open to help warm air flow around the pipes beneath the kitchen and bathroom sinks. You might also want to shut off the water at the primary shut-off valve to protect against a plumbing disaster while you’re gone.

Setting a Smart Thermostat Before Leaving for Vacation

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

As an example, you can check in on the temperature remotely via your tablet or smartphone. Verify how often the AC or furnace has been turning on in your absence as it sustains the temperature you chose before you left. If you’re unsatisfied with what you discover, you can control the thermostat from anyplace with your internet-enabled device. You can even set a comfortable temperature that will resume when you’re just about an hour away from home.

For even more peace of mind, Wi-Fi thermostats warn you of sudden environmental changes, like a higher-than-expected temperature or increased moisture while you’re gone.

Additional Vacation Recommendations

Keep these factors in mind to ensure your home is good to go before leaving 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 planned to have a house sitter come by, 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 environment is comfortable enough for them.
  • Close any window treatments to help keep the hot sun or cold winter air out of your home. This is also a privacy measure that stops prying eyes from taking a look inside while you’re away from home.
  • Arrange for HVAC maintenance before you leave to make sure your system works properly and is unlikely to encounter any issues while you’re gone.

Get in Touch with Jack Nelson Service Experts

Whether you want to ask thermostat-related questions or are looking to request HVAC maintenance before your next vacation, the HVAC professionals at Jack Nelson Service Experts are here to help. We can recommend a new thermostat for your needs and even install it and show you how to use it. Our services include all your HVAC requirements, from maintenance and repair to installation and replacement. Call us today to raise questions or request a visit from one of our experienced heating and cooling technicians.

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