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

If you’re preparing to leave for vacation, your thoughts might drift to packing your suitcase and ensuring all your travel arrangements are in order. But don’t forget to prepare the house for your departure as well.

One typical question people have is this: What should I set my thermostat to while on vacation? Your goal may be to save money, but don’t be tempted to completely turn off your HVAC system. The furnace or air conditioner still needs to run a little to avoid severe heat or cold, depending on the season. Here’s what you have to consider about setting your thermostat when you are gone on vacation.

Preparing the Thermostat for a Summer Vacation

If you’re on vacation at the height of summer, you can expect the temperature inside your house to increase as it gets hotter and hotter outside each day. If you don't have air conditioning, the temperature could quickly exceed 90 degrees inside—not happy news if you’re concerned about sensitive belongings.

A good rule of thumb is to increase the thermostat 5 to 10 degrees higher than you normally do throughout the day without reaching above 85 degrees. This is an ideal compromise between saving energy and protecting the interior of your home.

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

Adjusting the Thermostat for a Winter Vacation

To figure out the ideal thermostat setting when traveling in the winter, implement the same technique proposed above, but in reverse—that is, adjust' the temperature 5 to 10 degrees colder than you usually do throughout the day without falling under 60 degrees.

The biggest reason to heat your home while you’re out of town is to minimize the risk of frozen pipes. Any plumbing that runs alongside exterior walls and through unconditioned spaces is at risk. Keeping the temperature at 60 degrees or warmer limits this risk. Another smart idea is to leave the cupboard doors open to help warm air move around the pipes under your kitchen and bathroom sinks. You might also want to turn off the water at the main shut-off valve to avoid a plumbing disaster while you’re gone.

Preparing a Smart Thermostat Before Going on Vacation

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

For example, you can check in 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 set before you left. If you’re not happy with what you discover, you can change the thermostat from anyplace via your internet-enabled device. You can even set a comfortable temperature that will resume when you’re close to an hour away from home.

For even more peace of mind, Wi-Fi thermostats alert you of sudden environmental shifts, including a higher-than-expected temperature or increased moisture while you’re out of the house.

Additional Vacation Recommendations

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

  • Remember any delicate paintings, electronics or houseplants that may be vulnerable to hot or cold temperatures.
  • If you’re leaving pets at home or have decided to have a house sitter visit, 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 your blinds and drapes to help keep the hot sun or cold winter air out of your home. This is also a privacy measure that stops prying eyes from peering inside while you’re gone.
  • Schedule HVAC maintenance before you go to ensure your system operates correctly and is unlikely to suffer from any problems while you’re gone.

Contact Church Services

Whether you need to address thermostat-related questions or are looking to arrange for HVAC maintenance before your upcoming vacation, the HVAC experts at Church Services are here to help. We can point you to a new thermostat for your needs and even install it and teach you how it works. Our services include all your HVAC needs, from maintenance and repair to installation and replacement. Call us today to share questions or request a visit from one of our experienced heating and cooling technicians.