Should I Turn Off My Heater When I Go on Vacation?

open suitcase lying on the floor filled with folded laundry and sunglasses, hat, and flip-flops for vacation.

Winter is a great time to get away from it all and hit the slopes, or just get cozy and relax by the hotel fireplace. However, you might be apprehensive about leaving your home in the cold, especially if you live in an area that is susceptible to freezing temperatures. We have all heard the horror stories about pipes freezing or homes icing over while the owners are away on vacation. Of course, no homeowner wants this to happen in their house!

Fortunately, there are ways to avoid this kind of disaster by following a few simple steps. Nothing ruins a vacation like having to worry about your house instead of enjoying yourself. A few minutes of easy preparation before you leave for your getaway can work wonders in ensuring that your home is safe and sound.

What Temperature Should My House Be When I’m on Vacation?

The importance of maintaining a consistent temperature in your home will depend on how cold it gets in your part of the country. If you live in a region that regularly gets below freezing, you should make sure your home maintains a moderate indoor temperature. Generally, you should set your thermostat to around 55 degrees Fahrenheit while you are away on vacation.

This temperature is a good middle ground that will keep your house’s pipes from freezing without wasting too much energy. If you do not have a programmable thermostat, an upcoming vacation is a great reason to get one installed. Thermostats can help you not only maintain heat levels while you are out of town, but also in your day-to-day life, such as when everyone is at work or school.

If you are concerned about your furnace’s general energy efficiency, companies like Aire Serv can check and tune up your system. This is a great way to identify any issues and get your furnace running as cleanly and safely as possible.

How Else Can I Save Energy While on Vacation?

Aside from setting your thermostat to 55 degrees, there are other ways that you can save money and make your home more eco-friendly while you are on vacation. By taking advantage of these energy efficient tips, you can be sure that your home will be safe and that you won’t be hit with a big power bill when you get home.

Lower Water Heater Temperature

Since you won’t be using any hot water while you’re away, turning the water temperature down is a good way to save some money on your gas or electricity bill. Maintaining a high hot water temperature is a major source of energy use for most homes. If you know hot water won’t be used while you’re on your vacation, there’s no reason to let the water heater run at full capacity.

Most gas hot water heaters have a thermostat on the front and towards the bottom. This allows you to easily adjust the temperature. However, if your water heater is electric, it’s possible the thermostat is located behind a panel. If so, you may have to loosen some screws to get access. If you aren’t sure about the thermostat’s location, consult your owner’s manual.

Unplug Electronics

It might seem like turning your electronics off might be enough to save energy while you are away. However, many electronic devices still draw power from the outlets even if the power button is in the “off” position. To mitigate this, unplug anything from the wall that doesn’t need to be left on if no one is home.

Things like computers, clock radios, microwaves and other appliances can all eat up power if they are left plugged in. Unplugging them is also the best way to ensure there won’t be any fire hazards or electrical problems while you’re gone.

Adjust Refrigerator and Freezer Settings

Your refrigerator and freezer are probably the biggest energy users you have in your home. By turning these appliances down, you can save a bundle on your electricity bill. You can safely turn your refrigerator down to 38 degrees Fahrenheit and your freezer to 5 degrees Fahrenheit. These small adjustments can make a big difference.

If you are going to be gone for more than four weeks, it is a good idea to empty out your refrigerator and freezer and unplug them. Not only will this save you money, but it will also ensure your freezer doesn’t get frozen over while you are away.

Get Automatic Timers for Lights

Although this may seem counterintuitive, getting some automatic timers for your lights is a great idea for when you go on vacation. Letting your light bulbs sit dormant can make them more susceptible to burning out, so having them turn on for a few hours every night will end up saving you money in the long run.

Having automatic timers is also a great way to provide a little extra security while you are enjoying your winter vacation. Having lights that regularly turn off and on will make it seem like someone is checking on the residence. It’s also a very effective method of warding off potential thieves.

Before leaving on any extended vacation, be sure to check out the Furnace Maintenance services available at Aire Serv. Our experts have the skills and knowledge to make sure your furnace is up to date. They can even give you even more tips about how to get the most out of your heating and air system. Contact Aire Serv today to learn more!