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

If you’re getting ready to leave for vacation, your feelings might drift to packing your suitcase and making sure all travel arrangements are in order. But you'll also want to prepare the house for your departure as well.

One typical question people ask is this: What will I need to adjust my thermostat to while I'm on vacation? Your plan might be to conserve energy, but don’t be tempted to completely turn off your HVAC system. The furnace or air conditioner should still run a little to avoid severe heat or cold, depending on the season. Here’s what you should know about setting your thermostat when you leave for vacation.

Setting the Thermostat for a Summer Vacation

If you’re taking a trip at the peak of summer, you can generally expect the temperature inside your house to increase as it gets hotter and hotter outside each day. With no air conditioning at all, the temperature can quickly top 90 degrees inside—not good news if you’re worried about delicate belongings.

A good suggestion is to raise the thermostat 5 to 10 degrees higher than you ordinarily do during the day without going over 85 degrees. This is a good compromise between conserving energy and protecting the interior of your home.

If you have a programmable or Wi-Fi thermostat, don't forget that a “temporary” hold is supposed to return to your standard schedule at the next programmed time. So you should try the “permanent” or “vacation” hold setting when going out of town to make sure your chosen temperature sticks.

Adjusting the Thermostat for a Winter Vacation

To determine the ideal thermostat setting when traveling in the winter, implement the same means suggested above, but backward—that is, change the temperature 5 to 10 degrees cooler than you generally do throughout the day without falling under 60 degrees.

The most significant reason to continue heating your home while you’re away is to avoid frozen pipes. Your plumbing that runs alongside exterior walls and in unheated spaces is the most at risk. Maintaining the temperature at 60 degrees or up decreases this risk. Another smart idea is to leave the cupboard doors open to help warm air move around the pipes beneath your kitchen and bathroom sinks. You might also want to shut off the water at the central shut-off valve to protect against a plumbing emergency while you’re away on vacation.

Preparing a Smart Thermostat Before Taking a Vacation

If you don’t already have a Wi-Fi or “smart” thermostat, this could be an ideal time to upgrade. The latest innovations in thermostat technologies feature outstanding benefits, both while you’re at home and away.

For instance, you can check on the temperature remotely via your tablet or smartphone. Determine how often the AC or furnace has been running in your absence as it sustains the temperature you set before you left. If you’re concerned with what you discover, you can control the thermostat from anywhere using 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 better peace of mind, Wi-Fi thermostats warn you of sudden environmental shifts, such as a higher-than-expected temperature or excessive moisture while you’re out of the house.

Additional Vacation Recommendations

Keep these components in mind to ensure your home is good to go before going on your trip:

  • Remember any delicate paintings, electronics or houseplants that are vulnerable to high or low temperatures.
  • If you’re leaving pets at home or have decided to have a house sitter come 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 environment 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 prevents prying eyes from peering inside while you’re away.
  • Request HVAC maintenance before you head out to ensure your system works efficiently and is unlikely to experience any issues while you’re gone.

Contact Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning

Whether you need to address thermostat-related questions or are hoping to request HVAC maintenance before your tropical vacation, the HVAC pros at Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning 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 encompass all your HVAC preferences, from maintenance and repair to installation and replacement. Get in touch with us today to ask questions or set up a visit from one of our qualified heating and cooling technicians.