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

If you’re preparing to go on vacation, your feelings might focus on packing your suitcase and making sure all travel arrangements are in order. But you'll also want to prepare the house for your time away as well.

One typical question people have is this: What should I set my thermostat to while on vacation? Your goal will often be to save money, but don’t be tempted to completely turn off your HVAC system. The furnace or AC unit should still run a little to prevent excessive heat or cold, depending on the season. Here’s what you should consider about setting your thermostat when you leave for vacation.

Preparing the Thermostat for a Summer Vacation

If you’re taking a trip at the pinnacle of summer, you can expect the temperature inside your house to go up as it gets hotter outside each day. With no air conditioning at all, the temperature can easily surpass 90 degrees inside—not good news if you’re worried about delicate possessions.

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

If you own a programmable or Wi-Fi thermostat, don't forget that a “temporary” hold is supposed to resume your standard schedule at the next programmed time. So you should use the “permanent” or “vacation” hold setting when you're on vacation to make sure your desired temperature sticks.

Adjusting the Thermostat for a Winter Vacation

To determine the best thermostat setting when taking a trip in the winter, use the same means proposed above, but in reverse—that is, change the temperature 5 to 10 degrees lower than you normally do over the course of the day without dropping under 60 degrees.

The biggest reason to continue heating your home while you’re on vacation is to minimize the risk of frozen pipes. Your plumbing that runs against exterior walls and inside unheated spaces is exposed to freezing. Maintaining the temperature at 60 degrees or higher limits this risk. Another great idea is to have the cupboard doors open to help warm air circulate around the pipes beneath the kitchen and bathroom sinks. You may also want to turn off the water at the primary shut-off valve to avoid a plumbing emergency while you’re gone.

Preparing a Smart Thermostat Before Going on Vacation

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

For instance, you can follow up on the temperature remotely with your tablet or smartphone. Find out how regularly the AC or furnace has been active in your absence as it sustains the temperature you set before you left. If you’re unhappy with what you find, you can adjust the thermostat from anyplace via 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 greater peace of mind, Wi-Fi thermostats notify you of unforeseen environmental variations, including a higher-than-expected temperature or increased moisture while you’re away from home.

More Vacation Recommendations

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

  • Remember any delicate paintings, electronics or houseplants that can be sensitive to hot or cold 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 about normal—such as 80 degrees in the summer and 65 degrees in the winter—so the home is comfortable enough for them.
  • Shut the blinds and curtains 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 prevents prying eyes from peering inside while you’re away from home.
  • Schedule HVAC maintenance before you go to ensure your system operates correctly and is unlikely to suffer from any issues while you’re away.

Contact Aramendia Plumbing, Heating and Air

Whether you want to ask thermostat-related questions or are hoping to arrange for HVAC maintenance before your next vacation, the HVAC experts at Aramendia Plumbing, Heating and Air are here to help. We can recommend a new thermostat for your needs and even install it and teach you how it works. Our services encompass all your HVAC requirements, from maintenance and repair to installation and replacement. Get in touch with us today to raise questions or request a visit from one of our experienced heating and cooling technicians.