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

If you’re preparing to go on vacation, your thoughts might focus on packing your suitcase and making sure all travel arrangements are in order. But don’t forget to prepare the house for your time away as well.

One typical question people have is this: What should I adjust my thermostat to while on vacation? Your intention will often be to conserve energy, but try and avoid completely turning off your HVAC system. The furnace or AC unit needs to run a little to avoid extreme heat or cold, depending on the season. Here’s what you need to learn about setting your thermostat when you are gone on vacation.

Adjusting the Thermostat for a Summer Vacation

If you’re traveling at the height of summer, you can 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 exceed 90 degrees inside—not happy news if you’re worried about delicate items.

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

If you prefer a programmable or Wi-Fi thermostat, keep in mind that a “temporary” hold should continue your standard schedule at the next programmed time. So you need to use the “permanent” or “vacation” hold setting when going out of town to see to it that your chosen temperature sticks.

Adjusting the Thermostat for a Winter Vacation

To identify the perfect thermostat setting when taking a trip in the winter, use the same method recommended above, but backward—that is, change the temperature 5 to 10 degrees lower than you normally do during the day without dropping under 60 degrees.

The most important reason to heat your home while you’re on vacation is to prevent frozen pipes. Your plumbing that runs against exterior walls and in unfinished spaces is exposed to freezing. Holding the temperature at 60 degrees or up lowers this risk. Another wise idea is to keep 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 emergency while you’re away.

Preparing a Smart Thermostat Before Going on Vacation

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

As an example, you can follow up on the temperature remotely using your tablet or smartphone. Find out how frequently the AC or furnace has been active in your absence as it maintains the temperature you chose before you left. If you’re not happy with what you discover, you can change the thermostat from anyplace using your internet-enabled device. You can even set a comfortable temperature that will resume when you’re just about an hour away from home.

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

Other Vacation Recommendations

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

  • Consider any delicate paintings, electronics or houseplants that may be sensitive to hot or cold temperatures.
  • If you’re leaving pets at home or have arranged to have a house sitter come by, you will want to leave the temperature closer to normal—such as 80 degrees in the summer and 65 degrees in the winter—so the home 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 privacy measure that stops prying eyes from looking inside while you’re away from home.
  • Schedule HVAC maintenance before you go to ensure your system works correctly and is unlikely to encounter any trouble while you’re gone.

Contact Broad Ripple Service Experts

Whether you want to ask thermostat-related questions or are looking to schedule HVAC maintenance before your upcoming vacation, the HVAC experts at Broad Ripple Service Experts are here to help. We can point you to 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. Get in touch with us today to share questions or request a visit from one of our certified heating and cooling technicians.

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