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

If you’re getting ready to leave for vacation, your thoughts might drift to packing your suitcase and seeing to it that any travel arrangements are ready to go. But remember to prepare the house for your departure as well.

One common question people have is this: What will I need to adjust my thermostat to while I'm gone? Your goal will often be to conserve energy, but don’t be tempted to completely turn off your HVAC system. The furnace or AC unit still needs to run a little to minimize excessive heat or cold, depending on the season. Here’s what you need to learn about setting your thermostat when you leave for vacation.

Preparing the Thermostat for a Summer Vacation

If you’re traveling at the peak of summer, you can expect the temperature inside your house to rise as it gets hotter outside each day. Without air conditioning, the temperature could quickly top 90 degrees inside—not exciting news if you’re concerned about fragile items.

A good guideline is to raise the thermostat 5 to 10 degrees warmer than you typically do over the course of the day without exceeding 85 degrees. This is a good 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 standard 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 desired temperature sticks.

Adjusting the Thermostat for a Winter Vacation

To figure out the perfect thermostat setting when traveling in the winter, implement the same means proposed above, but in reverse—that is, change the temperature 5 to 10 degrees colder than you generally do during the day without falling lower than 60 degrees.

The most significant reason to continue heating your home while you’re out of town is to minimize the risk of frozen pipes. The plumbing that runs near exterior walls and inside unfinished spaces is at risk. Holding the temperature at 60 degrees or warmer reduces this risk. Another good 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 main shut-off valve to protect against a plumbing crisis while you’re gone.

Adjusting a Smart Thermostat Before Going on Vacation

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

As an example, you can check in on the temperature remotely with your tablet or smartphone. Find out how regularly the AC or furnace has been turning on in your absence as it sustains the temperature you chose before you left. If you’re concerned with what you find, you can adjust the thermostat from anyplace via your internet-enabled device. You can even set a comfortable temperature that can resume when you’re under an hour away from home.

For even better peace of mind, Wi-Fi thermostats warn you of unexpected environmental variations, including a higher-than-expected temperature or excess moisture while you’re away from home.

Other Vacation Recommendations

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

  • Remember any delicate paintings, electronics or houseplants that can be sensitive to extreme temperatures.
  • If you’re leaving pets at home or have planned to have a house sitter stop by, you may want to leave the temperature close to normal—such as 80 degrees in the summer and 65 degrees in the winter—so the conditions are comfortable enough for them.
  • Close any window treatments to help keep the hot sun or cold winter air out of your home. This is also a privacy measure that prevents prying eyes from peering inside while you’re away from home.
  • Request HVAC maintenance before you head out to ensure your system operates efficiently and is unlikely to encounter any issues while you’re gone.

Contact All American Air Service Experts

Whether you want to ask thermostat-related questions or are looking to request HVAC maintenance before your tropical vacation, the HVAC pros at All American Air Service Experts are here to assist. 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 cover all your HVAC goals, from maintenance and repair to installation and replacement. Call us today to share questions or set up a visit from one of our experienced heating and cooling technicians.

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