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

If you’re planning to leave for vacation, your feelings might lean toward packing your suitcase and ensuring all travel arrangements are in order. But remember to prepare the house for your departure as well.

One typical question people ask is this: What can I set my thermostat to while I'm on vacation? Your intention might be to conserve energy, but you'll still want to avoid turning off your HVAC system. The furnace or AC system should still run a little to prevent severe heat or cold, depending on the season. Here’s what you have to consider about setting your thermostat when you leave on vacation.

Setting 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 and hotter outside each day. If you don't have air conditioning, the temperature may quickly surpass 90 degrees inside—not exciting news if you’re worried about fragile items.

A good suggestion is to raise the thermostat 5 to 10 degrees warmer than you usually do during the day without going over 85 degrees. This is a good compromise between conserving energy and protecting the interior of your home.

If you own a programmable or Wi-Fi thermostat, remember that a “temporary” hold is supposed to continue your typical schedule at the next programmed time. So you have to select the “permanent” or “vacation” hold setting when going on vacation to ensure your desired temperature sticks.

Preparing the Thermostat for a Winter Vacation

To decide the perfect thermostat setting when traveling in the winter, implement the same means proposed above, but backward—that is, change the temperature 5 to 10 degrees cooler than you normally do over the course of the day without slipping lower than 60 degrees.

The most important reason to keep your home warm while you’re out of town is to avoid frozen pipes. Your plumbing that runs alongside exterior walls and through unheated spaces is at risk. Holding the temperature at 60 degrees or higher limits this risk. Another wise idea is to leave the cupboard doors open to help warm air flow around the pipes beneath your kitchen and bathroom sinks. You will also want to shut off the water at the primary shut-off valve to prevent 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 could be an ideal time to upgrade. The latest enhancements in thermostat technologies provide outstanding benefits, both while you’re at home and on a trip.

For instance, you can check in on the temperature remotely using your tablet or smartphone. Determine how regularly the AC or furnace has been active in your absence as it holds the temperature you decided on before you left. If you’re unhappy with what you find, you can change the thermostat from anywhere using 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 out of the house.

Additional Vacation Recommendations

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

  • Consider any delicate paintings, electronics or houseplants that may be vulnerable to extreme temperatures.
  • If you’re leaving pets at home or have decided to have a house sitter come by, you may want to leave the temperature closer to normal—such as 80 degrees in the summer and 65 degrees in the winter—so the conditions are comfortable enough for them.
  • Shut any window treatments 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 keeps prying eyes from looking inside while you’re absent.
  • Arrange for HVAC maintenance before you leave to make sure your system operates properly and is unlikely to experience any problems while you’re gone.

Get in Touch with Midway Services

Whether you need to address thermostat-related questions or are hoping to schedule HVAC maintenance before your tropical vacation, the HVAC professionals at Midway Services are here to help. We can recommend a new thermostat for your needs and even install it and show you how to use it. Our services cover all your HVAC requirements, from maintenance and repair to installation and replacement. Call us today to share questions or request a visit from one of our qualified heating and cooling technicians.