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

If you’re planning to go on vacation, your feelings might go toward packing your suitcase and ensuring all travel arrangements are in order. But remember to prepare the house for you being gone as well.

One frequent question people have is this: What can I set my thermostat to while I'm gone? Your plan might be to reduce costs, but try and avoid completely turning off your HVAC system. The furnace or AC unit should still run a little to minimize severe heat or cold, depending on the season. Here’s what you need to consider about setting your thermostat when you are gone on vacation.

Setting the Thermostat for a Summer Vacation

If you’re traveling at the height of summer, you can generally expect the temperature inside your house to rise as it gets warmer outside each day. With no air conditioning at all, the temperature can quickly exceed 90 degrees inside—not good news if you’re concerned about sensitive belongings.

A good guideline is to increase the thermostat 5 to 10 degrees higher than you typically do during the day without exceeding 85 degrees. This is the perfect compromise between reducing energy and protecting your home’s interior.

If you own a programmable or Wi-Fi thermostat, keep in mind that a “temporary” hold is supposed to continue your typical schedule at the next programmed time. So you need to select the “permanent” or “vacation” hold setting when going on vacation to make sure your desired temperature sticks.

Preparing the Thermostat for a Winter Vacation

To determine the best thermostat setting when traveling in the winter, follow the same method proposed above, but in the opposite direction—that is, set the temperature 5 to 10 degrees lower than you generally do throughout the day without dropping below 60 degrees.

The biggest reason to heat your home while you’re away is to prevent frozen pipes. Your plumbing that runs near exterior walls and in unfinished spaces is at risk. Maintaining the temperature at 60 degrees or up reduces this risk. Another wise idea is to keep the cupboard doors open to help warm air flow around the pipes beneath your kitchen and bathroom sinks. You may also want to shut off the water at the primary shut-off valve to avoid a plumbing emergency while you’re away on vacation.

Preparing a Smart Thermostat Before Going on Vacation

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

For example, you can check on the temperature remotely with your tablet or smartphone. Determine how often the AC or furnace has been turning on in your absence as it maintains the temperature you chose before you left. If you’re concerned 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 under an hour away from home.

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

Additional Vacation Recommendations

Keep these components in mind to ensure your home is good to go before leaving on your trip:

  • Consider any delicate paintings, electronics or houseplants that can be vulnerable to extreme 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 any window treatments to help keep the hot sun or cold winter air out of your home. This is also a good idea if you want privacy because it keeps prying eyes from taking a look inside while you’re gone.
  • Request HVAC maintenance before you head out to make sure your system runs properly and is unlikely to experience any trouble while you’re gone.

Call Bryant Heating & Cooling 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 Bryant Heating & Cooling 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 cover all your HVAC goals, from maintenance and repair to installation and replacement. Call us today to share questions or schedule a visit from one of our certified heating and cooling technicians.

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