As your vacation nears your thoughts may begin to wander and you may find yourself daydreaming about your upcoming travels, spending time with family and relaxing. While we doubt your vacation daydreams include thoughts about lowering your utility bills, but they should! By adjusting your thermostat before you leave for vacation you can take advantage of the savings while you are enjoying some well-deserved time off.
How High Can I Go?
The most important consideration when adjusting your thermostat for vacation is whether you have pets staying at home while you’re away. Pets are susceptible to heat-related illness and require fresh air just like us, so it’s important that you leave your air conditioner on. Unless your pet has a medical condition that puts them at increased risk, it’s fine to set your thermostat as high as 80 degrees. You can also close the shades on any sun-facing windows to help the house keep cool during the day.
If you do not have pets staying at home, you can set the thermostat even higher, but you shouldn’t turn it off completely. Stagnant air in your home during the middle of summer can turn your home into a sauna and can even cause damage to your drywall, wallpaper and even wood. Artwork, plants, wine and other household items can also be harmed by a few steamy days while you’re away. Running your air conditioner, even as high as 85 will still help to remove the humidity from the air lessening the risk of mold or mildew growing while you’re away.
If you are planning to take a trip in the late fall or winter months the same principles can be applied. A home with pets will need to be kept warmer than an empty home, but pets will be comfortable around 65 degrees. An empty home can be set as low as 50 degrees. Rather than humidity, mold and mildew the main concern this time of year is freezing pipes and the resulting water damage.
A High Tech Solution
Adjusting the temperature as you’re walking out the door and then lowering it again as soon as you arrive back home is perfectly fine, but you will return to a warm house. One solution to this is asking the person feeding your pets or watering your plants to lower the temperature ahead of time to avoid this.
Another more convenient way to ensure the temperature of your home will be perfect upon your return is to use a programmable or smart thermostat. Some programmable thermostats allow you to program a program change for a specific date in the future. On the other hand a smart thermostat connects to your home’s Wi-Fi network allowing you to control it from anywhere using your smart phone. From your smart thermostat’s app you are able to easily update your home’s heating and cooling schedules as needed.