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

If you’re planning to go on vacation, your thoughts might focus on packing your suitcase and ensuring all travel arrangements are in place. But remember to prepare the house for your time away as well.

One frequent question people have is this: What can I set my thermostat to while I'm on vacation? Your goal will often be to conserve energy, but you'll still want to avoid turning off your HVAC system. The furnace or AC system should still 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 are gone on vacation.

Preparing the Thermostat for a Summer Vacation

If you’re on vacation at the pinnacle of summer, you can generally expect the temperature inside your house to rise as it gets warmer outside each day. If you don't have air conditioning, the temperature may quickly exceed 90 degrees inside—not happy news if you’re worried about fragile belongings.

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

If you own a programmable or Wi-Fi thermostat, remember that a “temporary” hold should return to 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.

Preparing the Thermostat for a Winter Vacation

To decide the ideal thermostat setting when taking a trip in the winter, implement the same means suggested above, but in the opposite direction—that is, set the temperature 5 to 10 degrees colder than you usually do during the day without slipping lower than 60 degrees.

The most significant reason to keep your home warm while you’re on vacation is to minimize the risk of frozen pipes. The plumbing that runs against exterior walls and in unfinished spaces is at risk. Keeping the temperature at 60 degrees or higher decreases this risk. Another great idea is to leave the cupboard doors open to help warm air circulate around the pipes underneath your kitchen and bathroom sinks. You will also want to shut off the water at the central shut-off valve to prevent a plumbing crisis while you’re away on vacation.

Preparing a Smart Thermostat Before Going on Vacation

If you don’t already own a Wi-Fi or “smart” thermostat, this can be an ideal time to upgrade. The latest improvements in thermostat technology provide fantastic benefits, both while you’re at home and on a trip.

For example, you can follow up on the temperature remotely with your tablet or smartphone. Figure out how often the AC or furnace has been running in your absence as it sustains the temperature you decided on before you left. If you’re not happy with what you discover, you can change the thermostat from wherever with 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 greater peace of mind, Wi-Fi thermostats alert you of unexpected environmental shifts, such as a higher-than-expected temperature or increased moisture while you’re gone.

Additional Vacation Recommendations

Keep these things 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 extreme temperatures.
  • If you’re leaving pets at home or have arranged to have a house sitter stop by, you will want to leave the temperature about normal—such as 80 degrees in the summer and 65 degrees in the winter—so the environment is comfortable enough for them.
  • Close the blinds and curtains to help keep the hot sun or cold winter air away from your home. This is also a privacy measure that stops prying eyes from peering inside while you’re away from home.
  • Arrange for HVAC maintenance before you head out to ensure your system operates correctly and is unlikely to experience any trouble while you’re away.

Contact TML Service Experts

Whether you need to address thermostat-related questions or are wanting to schedule HVAC maintenance before your tropical vacation, the HVAC professionals at TML Service Experts are here to help. We can suggest a new thermostat for your needs and even install it and show you how it works. Our services cover all your HVAC requirements, from maintenance and repair to installation and replacement. Contact us today to raise questions or request a visit from one of our qualified heating and cooling technicians.

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