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

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

One frequent question people ask is this: What should I adjust my thermostat to while I'm gone? Your plan might be to save money, but try and avoid completely turning off your HVAC system. The furnace or AC system still needs to run a little to prevent excessive heat or cold, depending on the season. Here’s what you need to know about setting your thermostat when you leave for vacation.

Adjusting the Thermostat for a Summer Vacation

If you’re taking a trip at the pinnacle of summer, you can generally expect the temperature inside your house to increase as it gets hotter outside each day. With no air conditioning at all, the temperature may quickly top 90 degrees inside—not happy news if you’re worried about sensitive items.

A good rule of thumb is to raise the thermostat 5 to 10 degrees higher than you typically do over the course of the day without exceeding 85 degrees. This is an ideal compromise between conserving energy and protecting the interior of your home.

If you prefer a programmable or Wi-Fi thermostat, keep in mind that a “temporary” hold should continue your typical schedule at the next programmed time. So you have to use the “permanent” or “vacation” hold setting when you're on vacation to ensure your preferred temperature sticks.

Preparing the Thermostat for a Winter Vacation

To determine the perfect thermostat setting when traveling in the winter, follow the same method suggested above, but in the opposite direction—that is, set the temperature 5 to 10 degrees cooler 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 prevent frozen pipes. Any plumbing that runs against exterior walls and through unfinished spaces is at risk. Keeping the temperature at 60 degrees or warmer reduces this risk. Another good idea is to have the cupboard doors open to help warm air move around the pipes beneath your kitchen and bathroom sinks. You will also want to shut off the water at the central shut-off valve to prevent a plumbing emergency while you’re away on vacation.

Preparing a Smart Thermostat Before Leaving for Vacation

If you don’t already own a Wi-Fi or “smart” thermostat, this can be an ideal time to upgrade. The latest improvements in thermostat technologies offer excellent benefits, both while you’re at home and away.

As an example, you can check on the temperature remotely via your tablet or smartphone. Find out how frequently the AC or furnace has been active in your absence as it maintains the temperature you chose before you left. If you’re unhappy with what you see, you can adjust the thermostat from wherever using your internet-enabled device. You can even set a comfortable temperature to resume when you’re about an hour away from home.

For even more peace of mind, Wi-Fi thermostats notify you of unexpected environmental shifts, including a higher-than-expected temperature or excessive moisture while you’re out of the house.

More Vacation Recommendations

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

  • Consider any delicate paintings, electronics or houseplants that may be susceptible to high or low temperatures.
  • If you’re leaving pets at home or have decided to have a house sitter visit, you may want to leave the temperature about normal—such as 80 degrees in the summer and 65 degrees in the winter—so the environment is comfortable enough for them.
  • Close the blinds and curtains to help keep the hot sun or cold winter air outside of your home. This also helps with privacy since it keeps prying eyes from looking inside while you’re gone.
  • Schedule HVAC maintenance before you go to ensure your system works correctly and is unlikely to experience any issues while you’re out of town.

Contact Norrell Service Experts

Whether you have thermostat-related questions or are looking to schedule HVAC maintenance before your upcoming vacation, the HVAC experts at Norrell Service Experts are here to help. We can recommend a new thermostat for your needs and even install it and show you how to make the most of its features. Our services cover all your HVAC goals, from maintenance and repair to installation and replacement. Contact us today to ask questions or request a visit from one of our experienced heating and cooling technicians.

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