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

If you’re planning to take a vacation, your thoughts might go toward packing your suitcase and ensuring all travel arrangements are in place. But don’t forget to prepare the house for your departure as well.

One typical question people ask is this: What can I set my thermostat to while on vacation? Your plan might be to reduce costs, but try and avoid completely turning off your HVAC system. The furnace or AC system needs to run a little to minimize severe heat or cold, depending on the season. Here’s what you need to learn about setting your thermostat when you leave on vacation.

Setting the Thermostat for a Summer Vacation

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

A good guideline is to raise the thermostat 5 to 10 degrees higher than you ordinarily do over the course of the day without exceeding 85 degrees. This is the perfect compromise between saving energy and protecting your home’s interior.

If you prefer a programmable or Wi-Fi thermostat, don't forget that a “temporary” hold is supposed to return to your standard schedule at the next programmed time. So you need to try the “permanent” or “vacation” hold setting when going out of town to see to it that your preferred temperature sticks.

Setting the Thermostat for a Winter Vacation

To figure out the perfect thermostat setting when taking a trip in the winter, implement the same technique recommended above, but in the opposite direction—that is, adjust' the temperature 5 to 10 degrees cooler than you usually do during the day without falling under 60 degrees.

The most important reason to keep your home warm while you’re out of town is to prevent frozen pipes. Your plumbing that runs near exterior walls and through unconditioned spaces is exposed to freezing. Holding the temperature at 60 degrees or up lowers this risk. Another wise idea is to keep the cupboard doors open to help warm air circulate around the pipes beneath the kitchen and bathroom sinks. You will also want to turn off the water at the primary shut-off valve to prevent a plumbing disaster while you’re gone.

Preparing a Smart Thermostat Before Going on Vacation

If you don’t already have a Wi-Fi or “smart” thermostat, this may be a great time to upgrade. The latest advancements in thermostat systems offer outstanding benefits, both while you’re at home and away.

For instance, you can follow up on the temperature remotely via your tablet or smartphone. Find out how regularly the AC or furnace has been active in your absence as it holds the temperature you chose before you left. If you’re concerned with what you discover, you can change the thermostat from wherever via your internet-enabled device. You can even set a comfortable temperature that can resume when you’re about an hour away from home.

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

Other Vacation Recommendations

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

  • Don't forget about any delicate paintings, electronics or houseplants that are sensitive to extreme temperatures.
  • If you’re leaving pets at home or have decided to have a house sitter come 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 conditions are comfortable enough for them.
  • Close any window treatments 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 looking inside while you’re gone.
  • Arrange for HVAC maintenance before you go to make sure your system runs properly and is unlikely to encounter any issues while you’re out of town.

Call Coastal Service Experts

Whether you need to address thermostat-related questions or are wanting to schedule HVAC maintenance before your tropical vacation, the HVAC professionals at Coastal 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 make the most of its features. Our services include 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 qualified heating and cooling technicians.

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