Whether you're winterizing your summer cabin or planning an extended absence over the summer, you might be tempted to turn off your furnace or air conditioning system for the season. Don't do it! Instead, learn what temperature to leave a vacant house for any length of time in any season.
What Temperature to Leave a Vacant House in Winter
Whether you plan to leave for a vacation or for the season, most heating and cooling professionals recommend setting the thermostat to 55 degrees Fahrenheit. This temperature will reduce your heating costs and minimize the risk for hazards such as frozen or burst pipes and flooding. In fact, when leaving a house unoccupied in winter, there are a few additional steps you can take to make sure you don't return in the spring to a disastrous surprise:
- Turn off the water to the whole house.
- Empty the water pipes by letting the water run in an interior bathroom, the kitchen sink, etc., until there isn't even a trickle.
- Take out all your trash. Beyond the stench, old garbage can attract curious animals who may be tempted to find a way inside.
- Unplug unused appliances such as lamps, televisions, and game stations.
- Make sure your house is as airtight as possible to keep the cold and critters out while you're gone.
If you're only leaving your home during the daytime hours while you're at work or running errands, it's fine to leave your thermostat alone. However, if you want to save money on your energy bills, adjusting your settings a few degrees cooler while you're away will make a difference.
What Temperature to Leave a Vacant House in Summer
If you plan to take an extended summer vacation or if you're a snowbird heading north for the warmer months, you can safely turn your thermostat up to 85 degrees. That setting will prevent sky hig energy bills while still running your system often enough to reduce the threat of mold and mildew growth while you're gone. For additional tips on leaving your home for the summer, check out our AC Tips for Summer Vacation.
If you don't already own one, investing in a programmable thermostat will make those adjustments easier. Another option is to upgrade to a smart thermostat, allowing you to control your temperature settings through an app on your phone. You may even have insights into humidity levels and air quality metrics. Some of the new models even include a geofencing option, using your phone's GPS to alert your system when you're nearing your home so it can adjust the temperature as you approach.
Like wintertime, if you're only leaving your home for the day, adjusting the thermostat a few degrees warmer while you are out will ease your cooling costs during the summer. Our recommendation for most locations is 78 degrees.
Whether you're leaving the house for a day, a week, or a few months, make sure your indoor air stays clean by replacing your dirty air filter before you go with one of our standard or custom-sized, affordable filters.