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

If you’re planning to leave for vacation, your feelings might go toward packing your suitcase and ensuring any travel arrangements are in place. But you'll also want to prepare the house for you being gone as well.

One frequent question people share is this: What can I set my thermostat to while I'm on vacation? Your goal may be to save money, but try and avoid completely turning off your HVAC system. The furnace or AC unit still needs to run a little to avoid excessive heat or cold, depending on the season. Here’s what you need to learn about setting your thermostat when you are gone on vacation.

Setting the Thermostat for a Summer Vacation

If you’re taking a trip at the height of summer, you should expect the temperature inside your house to go up as it gets hotter outside each day. Without air conditioning, the temperature may rapidly top 90 degrees inside—not happy news if you’re worried about delicate possessions.

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

If you own a programmable or Wi-Fi thermostat, don't forget that a “temporary” hold should continue your standard schedule at the next programmed time. So you should use the “permanent” or “vacation” hold setting when you're on vacation to make sure your desired temperature sticks.

Adjusting the Thermostat for a Winter Vacation

To identify the ideal thermostat setting when on vacation in the winter, use the same technique recommended above, but in the opposite direction—that is, change the temperature 5 to 10 degrees cooler than you generally do during the day without dropping lower than 60 degrees.

The most important reason to keep your home warm while you’re on vacation is to avoid frozen pipes. Any plumbing that runs along exterior walls and inside unconditioned spaces is exposed to freezing. Maintaining the temperature at 60 degrees or up limits this risk. Another wise idea is to leave the cupboard doors open to help warm air move around the pipes under the kitchen and bathroom sinks. You might also want to shut off the water at the central shut-off valve to prevent a plumbing crisis while you’re away.

Preparing a Smart Thermostat Before Leaving for Vacation

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

For example, you can check in on the temperature remotely with your tablet or smartphone. Determine how frequently the AC or furnace has been active in your absence as it sustains the temperature you chose before you left. If you’re concerned with what you discover, you can control the thermostat from anyplace using your internet-enabled device. You can even set a comfortable temperature that can resume when you’re close to an hour away from home.

For even better peace of mind, Wi-Fi thermostats notify you of unexpected environmental changes, such as a higher-than-expected temperature or increased moisture while you’re away from home.

Additional Vacation Recommendations

Keep these things in mind to see to it that 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 arranged 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 environment is comfortable enough for them.
  • Close 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 peering inside while you’re absent.
  • Request HVAC maintenance before you go to make sure your system operates correctly and is unlikely to suffer from any problems while you’re gone.

Call Sunbeam Service Experts

Whether you need to address thermostat-related questions or are looking to request HVAC maintenance before your upcoming vacation, the HVAC professionals at Sunbeam 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 use it. Our services cover all your HVAC needs, from maintenance and repair to installation and replacement. Contact us today to ask questions or schedule a visit from one of our experienced heating and cooling technicians.

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