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

If you’re getting ready to go on vacation, your thoughts might go toward packing your suitcase and seeing to it that all your travel arrangements are in order. But remember to prepare the house for you being gone as well.

One typical question people share is this: What will I need to adjust my thermostat to while I'm gone? Your intention might be to conserve energy, but don’t be tempted to completely turn off your HVAC system. The furnace or AC system needs to run a little to avoid extreme heat or cold, depending on the season. Here’s what you should consider about setting your thermostat when you are gone on vacation.

Setting 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 hotter outside each day. If you don't have air conditioning, the temperature can quickly exceed 90 degrees inside—not good news if you’re concerned about fragile possessions.

A good guideline is to raise the thermostat 5 to 10 degrees higher than you ordinarily do throughout the day without going over 85 degrees. This is the perfect compromise between conserving energy and protecting your home’s interior.

If you prefer a programmable or Wi-Fi thermostat, remember that a “temporary” hold will continue your regular schedule at the next programmed time. So you need to use the “permanent” or “vacation” hold setting when going on vacation to make sure your preferred temperature sticks.

Preparing the Thermostat for a Winter Vacation

To decide the best thermostat setting when on vacation in the winter, follow the same means recommended above, but in the opposite direction—that is, adjust' the temperature 5 to 10 degrees lower than you normally do over the course of the day without dropping below 60 degrees.

The biggest reason to heat your home while you’re away is to minimize the risk of frozen pipes. Your plumbing that runs against exterior walls and through unheated spaces is at risk. Keeping the temperature at 60 degrees or higher decreases this risk. Another great idea is to keep the cupboard doors open to help warm air circulate around the pipes beneath your kitchen and bathroom sinks. You may also want to shut off the water at the central shut-off valve to avoid a plumbing crisis while you’re away.

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 upgrades in thermostat technology offer outstanding benefits, both while you’re at home and away.

For instance, you can follow up on the temperature remotely with your tablet or smartphone. Determine how often the AC or furnace has been turning on in your absence as it holds the temperature you set before you left. If you’re concerned with what you see, you can control the thermostat from wherever using your internet-enabled device. You can even set a comfortable temperature that can resume when you’re about an hour away from home.

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

Additional Vacation Recommendations

Keep these components in mind to ensure your home is good to go before leaving 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 decided 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 environment is comfortable enough for them.
  • Shut 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 stops prying eyes from peering inside while you’re gone.
  • Arrange for HVAC maintenance before you leave to make sure your system works efficiently and is unlikely to suffer from any trouble while you’re gone.

Contact Rolf Griffin Service Experts

Whether you have thermostat-related questions or are looking to schedule HVAC maintenance before your next vacation, the HVAC professionals at Rolf Griffin Service Experts are here to help. We can suggest a new thermostat for your needs and even install it and teach you how to use it. Our services cover all your HVAC needs, from maintenance and repair to installation and replacement. Contact us today to share questions or request a visit from one of our certified heating and cooling technicians.

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