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

If you’re planning to leave for vacation, your thoughts might focus on packing your suitcase and seeing to it that all travel arrangements are ready to go. But you'll also want to prepare the house for your departure as well.

One typical question people have is this: What can I adjust my thermostat to while on vacation? Your hope will often be to reduce costs, but you'll still want to avoid turning off your HVAC system. The furnace or air conditioner still needs to run a little to minimize severe heat or cold, depending on the season. Here’s what you have to know about setting your thermostat when you leave for vacation.

Preparing the Thermostat for a Summer Vacation

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

A good rule of thumb is to increase the thermostat 5 to 10 degrees warmer than you ordinarily do over the course of the day without exceeding 85 degrees. This is an ideal compromise between saving energy and protecting everything inside your home.

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

Adjusting the Thermostat for a Winter Vacation

To identify the perfect thermostat setting when on vacation in the winter, use the same means proposed above, but backward—that is, change the temperature 5 to 10 degrees colder than you generally do over the course of the day without slipping under 60 degrees.

The most significant reason to heat your home while you’re on vacation is to avoid frozen pipes. Any plumbing that runs alongside exterior walls and inside unfinished spaces is at risk. Maintaining the temperature at 60 degrees or higher reduces this risk. Another wise idea is to keep the cupboard doors open to help warm air circulate around the pipes beneath the kitchen and bathroom sinks. You will also want to shut off the water at the primary shut-off valve to avoid a plumbing disaster while you’re away on vacation.

Adjusting a Smart Thermostat Before Going on Vacation

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

For instance, you can follow up on the temperature remotely using your tablet or smartphone. Figure out how frequently the AC or furnace has been running in your absence as it holds the temperature you decided on before you left. If you’re not happy with what you find, you can adjust the thermostat from anyplace using your internet-enabled device. You can even set a comfortable temperature to resume when you’re under an hour away from home.

For even greater peace of mind, Wi-Fi thermostats notify you of unexpected environmental changes, such as a higher-than-expected temperature or increased moisture while you’re out of the house.

Additional Vacation Recommendations

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

  • Don't forget about any delicate paintings, electronics or houseplants that could be sensitive to high or low temperatures.
  • If you’re leaving pets at home or have arranged 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 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 good idea if you want privacy because it keeps prying eyes from looking inside while you’re away from home.
  • Arrange for HVAC maintenance before you head out to ensure your system runs properly and is unlikely to experience any issues while you’re gone.

Contact Comfort Masters Service Experts

Whether you have thermostat-related questions or are looking to arrange for HVAC maintenance before your tropical vacation, the HVAC experts at Comfort Masters Service Experts are here to assist. We can point you to a new thermostat for your needs and even install it and demonstrate how it works. Our services encompass all your HVAC requirements, from maintenance and repair to installation and replacement. Call us today to share questions or set up a visit from one of our certified heating and cooling technicians.

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