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

If you’re planning to leave for vacation, your mind might lean toward packing your suitcase and seeing to it that all your travel arrangements are in order. But you'll also want to prepare the house for you being gone as well.

One frequent question people have is this: What can I adjust my thermostat to while I'm gone? Your hope will often be to reduce costs, but don’t be tempted to completely turn off your HVAC system. The furnace or air conditioner still needs to run a little to prevent extreme heat or cold, depending on the season. Here’s what you should know about setting your thermostat when you leave on vacation.

Setting the Thermostat for a Summer Vacation

If you’re on vacation at the pinnacle of summer, you can generally expect the temperature inside your house to go up as it gets warmer outside each day. With no air conditioning at all, the temperature can easily top 90 degrees inside—not happy news if you’re concerned about delicate possessions.

A good suggestion is to increase the thermostat 5 to 10 degrees higher than you normally do over the course of the day without exceeding 85 degrees. This is a great compromise between reducing energy and protecting everything inside your home.

If you own a programmable or Wi-Fi thermostat, remember that a “temporary” hold will continue your regular schedule at the next programmed time. So you have to select the “permanent” or “vacation” hold setting when going out of town to make sure your preferred temperature sticks.

Preparing the Thermostat for a Winter Vacation

To figure out the perfect thermostat setting when on vacation in the winter, implement the same technique proposed above, but in reverse—that is, adjust' the temperature 5 to 10 degrees cooler than you usually do over the course of the day without slipping below 60 degrees.

The biggest reason to keep your home warm while you’re out of town is to prevent frozen pipes. The plumbing that runs against exterior walls and through unconditioned spaces is at risk. Keeping the temperature at 60 degrees or higher reduces this risk. Another wise idea is to leave the cupboard doors open to help warm air move around the pipes underneath the kitchen and bathroom sinks. You might also want to turn off the water at the primary shut-off valve to avoid a plumbing crisis while you’re away.

Setting a Smart Thermostat Before Taking a Vacation

If you don’t already use a Wi-Fi or “smart” thermostat, this could be an ideal time to upgrade. The latest advancements in thermostat technologies feature fantastic benefits, both while you’re at home and on vacation.

As an example, you can follow up on the temperature remotely with your tablet or smartphone. Figure out how regularly the AC or furnace has been running in your absence as it maintains the temperature you decided on before you left. If you’re unsatisfied with what you find, you can adjust the thermostat from anywhere 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 more peace of mind, Wi-Fi thermostats alert you of unforeseen environmental changes, like a higher-than-expected temperature or excessive moisture while you’re away from home.

Additional Vacation Recommendations

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

  • Consider any delicate paintings, electronics or houseplants that could be vulnerable to hot or cold temperatures.
  • If you’re leaving pets at home or have planned to have a house sitter stop by, you might want to leave the temperature close to normal—such as 80 degrees in the summer and 65 degrees in the winter—so the home is comfortable enough for them.
  • Shut your blinds and drapes to help keep the hot sun or cold winter air out of your home. This is also a privacy measure that keeps prying eyes from peering inside while you’re gone.
  • Schedule HVAC maintenance before you leave to make sure your system works correctly and is unlikely to encounter any problems while you’re out of town.

Get in Touch with McKinley Heating Service Experts

Whether you want to ask thermostat-related questions or are wanting to request HVAC maintenance before your upcoming vacation, the HVAC professionals at McKinley Heating Service Experts are here to support you. We can recommend a new thermostat for your needs and even install it and show you how it works. Our services encompass all your HVAC preferences, from maintenance and repair to installation and replacement. Get in touch with us today to raise questions or schedule a visit from one of our qualified heating and cooling technicians.

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