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

If you’re planning to leave for vacation, your mind might focus on packing your suitcase and making sure any travel arrangements are in order. But you'll also want to prepare the house for you being gone as well.

One typical question people share is this: What can I set my thermostat to while I'm gone? Your hope may be to reduce costs, but you'll still want to avoid 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 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 height of summer, you should expect the temperature inside your house to rise as it gets hotter outside each day. If you don't have air conditioning, the temperature can rapidly surpass 90 degrees inside—not exciting news if you’re concerned about fragile possessions.

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

If you own a programmable or Wi-Fi thermostat, don't forget that a “temporary” hold will return to your typical schedule at the next programmed time. So you need to 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 figure out the perfect thermostat setting when traveling in the winter, implement the same technique suggested above, but in reverse—that is, set the temperature 5 to 10 degrees lower than you usually do during the day without slipping lower than 60 degrees.

The biggest reason to heat your home while you’re out of town is to minimize the risk of frozen pipes. The plumbing that runs along exterior walls and through unconditioned spaces is at risk. Maintaining the temperature at 60 degrees or higher decreases this risk. Another great idea is to have the cupboard doors open to help warm air circulate around the pipes underneath your kitchen and bathroom sinks. You may also want to shut off the water at the primary shut-off valve to avoid a plumbing crisis while you’re gone.

Setting a Smart Thermostat Before Going on Vacation

If you don’t already own a Wi-Fi or “smart” thermostat, this may be a wonderful time to upgrade. The latest enhancements in thermostat systems offer outstanding benefits, both while you’re at home and on vacation.

For instance, you can check on the temperature remotely with your tablet or smartphone. Figure out how regularly the AC or furnace has been running in your absence as it sustains the temperature you chose before you left. If you’re concerned with what you see, you can change the thermostat from wherever with your internet-enabled device. You can even set a comfortable temperature that can 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, like a higher-than-expected temperature or increased moisture while you’re gone.

More Vacation Recommendations

Keep these factors 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 vulnerable to high or low temperatures.
  • If you’re leaving pets at home or have decided to have a house sitter stop by, you will 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.
  • Close the blinds and curtains 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 taking a look inside while you’re away.
  • Schedule HVAC maintenance before you leave to make sure your system works efficiently and is unlikely to suffer from any problems while you’re gone.

Contact San Antonio Air Service Experts

Whether you need to address thermostat-related questions or are hoping to request HVAC maintenance before your upcoming vacation, the HVAC professionals at San Antonio Air Service Experts 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 cover all your HVAC goals, from maintenance and repair to installation and replacement. Call us today to raise questions or schedule a visit from one of our qualified heating and cooling technicians.

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