Should I turn Off my Heat When I Go On Vacation?

Do you have a winter vacation planned? You’re probably more focused on remembering to pack everything than keeping your home efficient while you’re away. However, you have the chance to save on heating costs while the house is vacant.

Your gut reaction to maximize energy savings is to set the thermostat to the “off” position, but you shouldn’t turn your heat completely off when you go on vacation! Here’s why.

Reasons to Keep the Heat Running

The biggest motivation to lower but not completely turn the heat off is to prevent frozen pipes. Your plumbing is largely protected from freezing by warm indoor air. If you shut the furnace down and your pipes freeze, they could burst and flood your home when the pipes thaw. Saving a few dollars on heating costs is obviously not worth a plumbing disaster!

The other primary reason to keep the heat running while you’re gone is to keep pets comfortable. If you’re leaving a dog or cat at home, you don’t want them to deal with freezing temperatures.

The Ideal Thermostat Settings

The universal recommendation is to keep your thermostat set to 55 degrees or higher at all times. Any lower than this and you run the risk of frozen pipes.

If you have a pet staying home while you’re gone, set the thermostat just 4 degrees lower than normal. So if you usually set the temperature to 70 degrees in the winter, leave it at 66 degrees while you’re on vacation. This is enough to see some energy savings without leaving your cat or dog in the cold.

Make Sure You Set Your Thermostat Properly

If you’re in a rush to get everyone out the door, you might mistakenly choose the wrong override setting. The “temporary hold” for day-to-day overrides resumes the regular schedule the next time a preprogrammed setting rolls around.

This means you must be careful to choose the “permanent/vacation hold” when you go out of town. This overrides all upcoming settings and won’t resume a normal temperature until you cancel the hold.

Other Ways to Save Energy While You’re on Vacation

To lower your gas and electric bills even more while you’re gone, follow this advice:

  • Turn the water heater to the lowest setting.
  • Unplug the Internet modem, router, computers, TVs, and other electrics that continue to draw energy even when powered off.
  • Turn off all lights except for one lamp in the living room for security purposes.

Schedule Furnace Repair Before Your Trip

If your heating equipment has been acting up lately, the last thing you need is for it to break down while you’re gone, potentially allowing the indoor temperature to fall below the recommended safety threshold. To prevent any problems in your absence, schedule furnace repair or maintenance before you head out. This will give you extra peace of mind while on vacation.

To schedule furnace repair or other HVAC services in the Raleigh-Durham area, please contact Comfort Services Heating & Cooling online or call us at 919-646-8019.

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