Air Conditioning

HVAC System Settings for Extended Vacations

Published on: November 21, 2018
Girl with Suitcase | HVAC System Settings for Extended Vacations | AC Southeast®

If you’re planning time away from home, be smart with your HVAC system settings. Whether you’re a snowbird or if you plan to visit family over the holidays, keep these tips in mind.

Still Hot – Use these Air Conditioning Guidelines


If the weather when you vacation is still summer-like, and you anticipate it staying warm while you’re gone, turn down your air conditioner. Do not turn it off. Raise the temperature on your thermostat between three and five degrees.


More than five degrees and your HVAC system will strain to return to your comfort level when you return. This strain and “quick cooling” essentially eats savings you attained by turning it off.


Your home also benefits from the air circulation your HVAC system provides. No one wants to come home to a stuffy, hot house. Plus, if high humidity persists in your home, it can damage the interiors and furnishings.


The air conditioner, even at a warmer temperature, extracts moisture from the air. This is part of how it “cools” the air. It removes heat and moisture from it.

Furnace and Heating Guidelines


If you plan to be away during cool weather, here’s advice for your heating equipment. Do not turn it off. This is especially important if there’s potential for overnight freezes. If the weather does threaten to dip overnight, you can open cabinets around sinks so the pipes get a little warmth from the interior.


There’s less chance in the southeast for frozen pipes but it can happen. Don’t take the risk.


You can lower the temperature between three and five degrees. Again, more than five degrees and your HVAC system will expend lots of energy to return to your comfort level when you come home.


If you have a gas furnace, however, you can lower the temperature six to eight degrees. A gas furnace does not have to work as hard to heat a home. It can revive itself without as much work.

Programmable Thermostats and HVAC Systems


Most newer thermostats allow you to program a “vacation mode.” This enables a higher or lower core temperature while no one occupies the home. Just change the setting as you’re walking out the door.


Wi-Fi-enabled thermostats offer connectivity via the internet and an app on your smartphone or tablet. More elaborate thermostats allow more specific programming. If it’s Wi-Fi-enabled, you can change the settings remotely.


Flight delayed? Delay your thermostat changes. News announces a sudden heat wave or winter storm? Modify your settings from your vacation. If you’ve left a pet at home, you can make sure they continue to be comfortable in your absence.


An animal does not need the precise temperatures we do to be comfortable, so you can still turn them up or down to save energy while you’re gone. Certain breeds have different thresholds, so it’s best to check with your vet.


If you are interested in a thermostat upgrade, we strongly suggest speaking with a trusted local HVAC contractor. Some thermostat models pair better with some HVAC systems than others. Be fully informed and make the best choice. We want you to get the most value from a new thermostat.

Find HVAC System Experts through AC Southeast®


Contact AC Southeast® today to find a licensed and reliable HVAC expert in your area. They are happy to partner with you on a maintenance agreement for regular service.


Preventative maintenance makes it easy to leave your home knowing you’re less likely to come home to a surprise. Plus, routine service preserves most manufacturer warranties. Schedule a tune-up of your HVAC system if it’s been six months or more.