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

If you’re getting ready to take a vacation, your mind might go toward packing your suitcase and ensuring all travel arrangements are ready to go. But don’t forget to prepare the house for your time away as well.

One typical question people have is this: What will I need to adjust my thermostat to while on vacation? Your goal will often be to save money, but try and avoid completely turning off your HVAC system. The furnace or air conditioner needs to run a little to avoid excessive heat or cold, depending on the season. Here’s what you have to learn about setting your thermostat when you leave for vacation.

Setting the Thermostat for a Summer Vacation

If you’re on vacation at the pinnacle of summer, you should expect the temperature inside your house to go up as it gets warmer outside each day. If you don't have air conditioning, the temperature may rapidly exceed 90 degrees inside—not exciting news if you’re worried about delicate items.

A good rule of thumb is to raise the thermostat 5 to 10 degrees warmer than you usually do during the day without reaching above 85 degrees. This is a great compromise between reducing energy and protecting your home’s interior.

If you own a programmable or Wi-Fi thermostat, remember that a “temporary” hold will return to your typical schedule at the next programmed time. So you have to use the “permanent” or “vacation” hold setting when you're on vacation to see to it that your desired temperature sticks.

Setting the Thermostat for a Winter Vacation

To determine the perfect thermostat setting when traveling in the winter, use the same method proposed above, but backward—that is, adjust' the temperature 5 to 10 degrees cooler than you normally do during the day without slipping lower than 60 degrees.

The biggest reason to heat your home while you’re away is to prevent frozen pipes. Your plumbing that runs against exterior walls and inside unheated spaces is the most at risk. Holding the temperature at 60 degrees or up reduces this risk. Another great idea is to leave the cupboard doors open to help warm air flow around the pipes under your kitchen and bathroom sinks. You will also want to shut off the water at the central shut-off valve to avoid a plumbing disaster while you’re away on vacation.

Adjusting a Smart Thermostat Before Leaving for 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 feature excellent benefits, both while you’re at home and on a trip.

For instance, you can follow up on the temperature remotely with your tablet or smartphone. Determine how regularly the AC or furnace has been turning on in your absence as it maintains the temperature you set before you left. If you’re unhappy with what you discover, you can control the thermostat from anywhere via your internet-enabled device. You can even set a comfortable temperature to resume when you’re just about an hour away from home.

For even greater peace of mind, Wi-Fi thermostats notify you of sudden environmental shifts, like a higher-than-expected temperature or excessive moisture while you’re out of the house.

Other Vacation Recommendations

Keep these factors in mind to see to it that your home is good to go before going on your trip:

  • Don't forget about any delicate paintings, electronics or houseplants that could be susceptible to high or low temperatures.
  • If you’re leaving pets at home or have decided to have a house sitter visit, you will 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 the blinds and curtains to help keep the hot sun or cold winter air outside of your home. This is also a good idea if you want privacy because it stops prying eyes from taking a look inside while you’re gone.
  • Schedule HVAC maintenance before you go to ensure your system operates correctly and is unlikely to suffer from any issues while you’re away.

Contact R & M Climate Control Service Experts

Whether you want to ask thermostat-related questions or are wanting to schedule HVAC maintenance before your next vacation, the HVAC professionals at R & M Climate Control Service Experts are here to help. We can recommend a new thermostat for your needs and even install it and demonstrate how to make the most of its features. Our services cover all your HVAC goals, from maintenance and repair to installation and replacement. Contact us today to share questions or set up a visit from one of our qualified heating and cooling technicians.

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