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

If you’re preparing to take a vacation, your mind might drift to packing your suitcase and making sure all travel arrangements are in place. But don’t forget to prepare the house for you being gone as well.

One frequent question people have is this: What should I adjust my thermostat to while I'm on vacation? Your hope may be to conserve energy, but try and avoid completely turning off your HVAC system. The furnace or AC unit should still run a little to avoid severe heat or cold, depending on the season. Here’s what you should learn about setting your thermostat when you leave for vacation.

Preparing the Thermostat for a Summer Vacation

If you’re taking a trip at the height of summer, you should expect the temperature inside your house to go up as it gets hotter outside each day. Without air conditioning, the temperature could easily surpass 90 degrees inside—not happy news if you’re worried about delicate items.

A good suggestion is to raise the thermostat 5 to 10 degrees higher than you usually do throughout the day without reaching above 85 degrees. This is a great compromise between saving energy and protecting the interior of your home.

If you prefer a programmable or Wi-Fi thermostat, don't forget that a “temporary” hold should return to your regular schedule at the next programmed time. So you have to try 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 determine the ideal thermostat setting when taking a trip in the winter, use the same means recommended above, but in reverse—that is, set the temperature 5 to 10 degrees colder than you generally do throughout the day without slipping under 60 degrees.

The biggest reason to heat your home while you’re on vacation is to minimize the risk of frozen pipes. The plumbing that runs against exterior walls and in unheated spaces is the most at risk. Maintaining the temperature at 60 degrees or higher limits this risk. Another good idea is to keep the cupboard doors open to help warm air flow around the pipes beneath the kitchen and bathroom sinks. You will also want to turn off the water at the primary shut-off valve to prevent a plumbing disaster while you’re away on vacation.

Preparing a Smart Thermostat Before Leaving for Vacation

If you don’t already have a Wi-Fi or “smart” thermostat, this can be a great time to upgrade. The latest innovations in thermostat systems provide fantastic benefits, both while you’re at home and away.

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

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

Other Vacation Recommendations

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

  • Remember any delicate paintings, electronics or houseplants that are vulnerable to high or low temperatures.
  • If you’re leaving pets at home or have planned to have a house sitter stop by, you might want to leave the temperature about normal—such as 80 degrees in the summer and 65 degrees in the winter—so the conditions are comfortable enough for them.
  • Shut the blinds and curtains 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 peering inside while you’re absent.
  • Request HVAC maintenance before you leave to make sure your system works properly and is unlikely to suffer from any problems while you’re gone.

Contact Stark Services

Whether you want to ask thermostat-related questions or are wanting to request HVAC maintenance before your next vacation, the HVAC experts at Stark Services are here to help. We can recommend a new thermostat for your needs and even install it and teach you how to make the most of its features. Our services include all your HVAC goals, from maintenance and repair to installation and replacement. Get in touch with us today to ask questions or schedule a visit from one of our qualified heating and cooling technicians.