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

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

One frequent question people ask is this: What can I set my thermostat to while I'm on vacation? Your goal may be to save money, but don’t be tempted to completely turn 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 need to know about setting your thermostat when you leave for vacation.

Setting the Thermostat for a Summer Vacation

If you’re taking a trip at the height of summer, you can expect the temperature inside your house to increase as it gets warmer outside each day. Without air conditioning, the temperature may quickly surpass 90 degrees inside—not happy news if you’re stressed about sensitive belongings.

A good suggestion is to raise the thermostat 5 to 10 degrees warmer than you normally do during the day without reaching above 85 degrees. This is the perfect compromise between saving energy and protecting the interior of your home.

If you have a programmable or Wi-Fi thermostat, remember that a “temporary” hold will resume your typical schedule at the next programmed time. So you should select the “permanent” or “vacation” hold setting when going on vacation to make sure your preferred temperature sticks.

Setting the Thermostat for a Winter Vacation

To determine the best thermostat setting when on vacation in the winter, implement the same technique recommended above, but in reverse—that is, adjust' the temperature 5 to 10 degrees colder than you generally do over the course of the day without falling below 60 degrees.

The most important reason to heat your home while you’re away is to prevent frozen pipes. Any plumbing that runs along exterior walls and through unheated spaces is at risk. Holding the temperature at 60 degrees or up decreases this risk. Another good idea is to have the cupboard doors open to help warm air flow around the pipes under your kitchen and bathroom sinks. You may also want to shut off the water at the main shut-off valve to avoid a plumbing emergency while you’re away.

Preparing a Smart Thermostat Before Taking a Vacation

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

For instance, you can follow up on the temperature remotely with your tablet or smartphone. Find out how frequently the AC or furnace has been turning on in your absence as it sustains the temperature you chose before you left. If you’re unsatisfied with what you discover, you can adjust the thermostat from anyplace with your internet-enabled device. You can even set a comfortable temperature that will resume when you’re under an hour away from home.

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

Other Vacation Recommendations

Keep these components 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 susceptible to extreme temperatures.
  • If you’re leaving pets at home or have decided to have a house sitter stop by, you might want to leave the temperature close 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 outside of your home. This is also a privacy measure that stops prying eyes from looking inside while you’re absent.
  • Arrange for HVAC maintenance before you go to ensure your system runs properly and is unlikely to experience any trouble while you’re gone.

Contact Robinson Service Experts

Whether you need to address thermostat-related questions or are looking to arrange for HVAC maintenance before your tropical vacation, the HVAC pros at Robinson Service Experts are here to assist. We can recommend a new thermostat for your needs and even install it and teach you how to use it. Our services cover all your HVAC goals, from maintenance and repair to installation and replacement. Contact us today to raise questions or request a visit from one of our certified heating and cooling technicians.