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

If you’re planning to go on vacation, your mind might lean toward packing your suitcase and making sure all your travel arrangements are ready to go. But you'll also want to prepare the house for your departure as well.

One typical question people have is this: What can I adjust my thermostat to while on vacation? Your goal might be to save money, but you'll still want to avoid turning off your HVAC system. The furnace or AC system still needs to run a little to minimize extreme heat or cold, depending on the season. Here’s what you have to know about setting your thermostat when you leave on vacation.

Preparing the Thermostat for a Summer Vacation

If you’re taking a trip at the peak of summer, you can expect the temperature inside your house to increase as it gets hotter outside each day. With no air conditioning at all, the temperature may easily surpass 90 degrees inside—not exciting news if you’re stressed about fragile possessions.

A good rule of thumb is to raise the thermostat 5 to 10 degrees higher than you ordinarily do during the day without exceeding 85 degrees. This is a good compromise between saving energy and protecting everything inside your home.

If you have 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 try the “permanent” or “vacation” hold setting when going on vacation to make sure your chosen temperature sticks.

Setting the Thermostat for a Winter Vacation

To figure out the ideal thermostat setting when traveling in the winter, follow the same method recommended above, but in the opposite direction—that is, set the temperature 5 to 10 degrees cooler than you generally do over the course of the day without dropping lower than 60 degrees.

The biggest reason to heat your home while you’re on vacation is to avoid frozen pipes. The plumbing that runs alongside exterior walls and inside unheated spaces is at risk. Holding the temperature at 60 degrees or up decreases this risk. Another good idea is to leave the cupboard doors open to help warm air circulate around the pipes under the kitchen and bathroom sinks. You will also want to shut off the water at the main shut-off valve to avoid a plumbing disaster while you’re away on vacation.

Setting a Smart Thermostat Before Taking a Vacation

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

For instance, you can follow up on the temperature remotely using your tablet or smartphone. Find out how often the AC or furnace has been turning on in your absence as it holds the temperature you decided on before you left. If you’re concerned with what you find, you can change the thermostat from anyplace using your internet-enabled device. You can even set a comfortable temperature to resume when you’re close to an hour away from home.

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

More Vacation Recommendations

Keep these components in mind to make sure your home is good to go before departing on your trip:

  • Don't forget about any delicate paintings, electronics or houseplants that may be vulnerable to high or low temperatures.
  • If you’re leaving pets at home or have arranged to have a house sitter stop by, you may 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 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 keeps prying eyes from taking a look inside while you’re gone.
  • Schedule HVAC maintenance before you head out to make sure your system works correctly and is unlikely to suffer from any problems while you’re gone.

Call Orangutan Home Services

Whether you need to address thermostat-related questions or are hoping to request HVAC maintenance before your next vacation, the HVAC professionals at Orangutan Home Services are here to help. We can recommend a new thermostat for your needs and even install it and demonstrate how it works. Our services cover all your HVAC goals, from maintenance and repair to installation and replacement. Call us today to raise questions or set up a visit from one of our certified heating and cooling technicians.

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