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

If you’re planning to take a vacation, your mind might drift to packing your suitcase and seeing to it that any travel arrangements are in order. But don’t forget to prepare the house for your departure as well.

One common question people have is this: What can I set my thermostat to while I'm on vacation? Your plan may 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 minimize severe heat or cold, depending on the season. Here’s what you have to consider about setting your thermostat when you leave for vacation.

Setting 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 rise as it gets 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 fragile possessions.

A good guideline is to increase the thermostat 5 to 10 degrees warmer than you normally do over the course of the day without reaching above 85 degrees. This is an ideal compromise between reducing energy and protecting everything inside your home.

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

Setting the Thermostat for a Winter Vacation

To identify the perfect thermostat setting when on vacation in the winter, follow the same method recommended above, but in the opposite direction—that is, change the temperature 5 to 10 degrees cooler than you usually do throughout the day without slipping below 60 degrees.

The biggest reason to keep your home warm while you’re out of town is to prevent frozen pipes. Any plumbing that runs along exterior walls and in unheated spaces is 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 under the kitchen and bathroom sinks. You might also want to turn off the water at the central shut-off valve to prevent a plumbing emergency while you’re away.

Setting a Smart Thermostat Before Going on Vacation

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

As an example, you can check in on the temperature remotely via your tablet or smartphone. Verify how frequently the AC or furnace has been active in your absence as it sustains the temperature you decided on before you left. If you’re not happy with what you find, you can adjust the thermostat from anywhere with your internet-enabled device. You can even set a comfortable temperature to resume when you’re about an hour away from home.

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

Other Vacation Recommendations

Keep these things in mind to see to it that your home is good to go before going on your trip:

  • Consider any delicate paintings, electronics or houseplants that could be vulnerable to hot or cold 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 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 any window treatments to help keep the hot sun or cold winter air away from your home. This is also a good idea if you want privacy because it keeps prying eyes from taking a look inside while you’re absent.
  • Request HVAC maintenance before you leave to make sure your system operates correctly and is unlikely to experience any problems while you’re away.

Call Finch Air Conditioning & Heating

Whether you have thermostat-related questions or are looking to schedule HVAC maintenance before your upcoming vacation, the HVAC experts at Finch Air Conditioning & Heating are here to assist. We can point you to 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 goals, from maintenance and repair to installation and replacement. Call us today to raise questions or schedule a visit from one of our certified heating and cooling technicians.