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

If you’re preparing to leave for vacation, your thoughts might lean toward packing your suitcase and making sure all your travel arrangements are in place. But you'll also want to prepare the house for your time away as well.

One typical question people ask is this: What should I set my thermostat to while I'm on vacation? Your goal may be to reduce costs, but don’t be tempted to completely turn off your HVAC system. The furnace or AC system should still run a little to minimize excessive heat or cold, depending on the season. Here’s what you have to know about setting your thermostat when you leave on vacation.

Preparing the Thermostat for a Summer Vacation

If you’re on vacation at the height of summer, you should expect the temperature inside your house to go up as it gets warmer outside each day. Without air conditioning, the temperature could rapidly exceed 90 degrees inside—not good news if you’re concerned about delicate possessions.

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

If you have a programmable or Wi-Fi thermostat, remember that a “temporary” hold is supposed to resume your regular 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 determine the ideal thermostat setting when taking a trip in the winter, implement the same technique suggested above, but in reverse—that is, set the temperature 5 to 10 degrees cooler than you generally do over the course of the day without slipping below 60 degrees.

The most important reason to continue heating your home while you’re away is to prevent frozen pipes. Any plumbing that runs along exterior walls and through unheated spaces is exposed to freezing. Holding the temperature at 60 degrees or warmer decreases this risk. Another wise idea is to leave the cupboard doors open to help warm air flow around the pipes beneath your kitchen and bathroom sinks. You might also want to turn off the water at the primary shut-off valve to prevent a plumbing crisis while you’re away on vacation.

Adjusting a Smart Thermostat Before Leaving for Vacation

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

As an example, you can check on the temperature remotely via your tablet or smartphone. Determine how often the AC or furnace has been active in your absence as it maintains the temperature you set before you left. If you’re unsatisfied with what you find, you can change the thermostat from anyplace with your internet-enabled device. You can even set a comfortable temperature to resume when you’re close to an hour away from home.

For even more peace of mind, Wi-Fi thermostats warn you of unexpected environmental shifts, such as a higher-than-expected temperature or excessive moisture while you’re out of the house.

More Vacation Recommendations

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

  • Consider any delicate paintings, electronics or houseplants that may be susceptible to high or low temperatures.
  • If you’re leaving pets at home or have arranged to have a house sitter visit, you may want to leave the temperature about normal—such as 80 degrees in the summer and 65 degrees in the winter—so the home is comfortable enough for them.
  • Close your blinds and drapes to help keep the hot sun or cold winter air out of your home. This also helps with privacy since it keeps prying eyes from looking inside while you’re away.
  • Request HVAC maintenance before you leave to make sure your system runs properly and is unlikely to experience any trouble while you’re away.

Contact Donelson Air Service Experts

Whether you need to address thermostat-related questions or are looking to request HVAC maintenance before your next vacation, the HVAC pros at Donelson Air Service Experts are here to help. We can recommend a new thermostat for your needs and even install it and teach you how to make the most of its features. Our services encompass all your HVAC needs, from maintenance and repair to installation and replacement. Get in touch with us today to share questions or request a visit from one of our experienced heating and cooling technicians.

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