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Setting Your Thermostat When Traveling This Winter

We’ve Got the Magic Number

thermostat manchester, vt

Plenty of people flock to southwestern Vermont in the winter, looking for adventures in the snow. But there are plenty of us who like to escape the cold for a week or two, or maybe the better (or worst, depending on your point of view) part of the season.

If you prefer summer weather, you may prefer to keep your thermostat on the high side in winter. But you may not want to spend the money to keep your house extra toasty when you aren’t there—especially if you are away for more than a couple days.

Still, turning your heat too low could result in frozen pipes. So, what’s the right temperature to set your thermostat while you’re traveling this winter?

The sweet spot is about 60F.

Generally speaking, if you set your thermostat to 68°F when you’re home, and lower it another 7°–10°F for 8 hours a day (for example, when you’re sleeping), you can save as much as 10% per year on heating. That lower temperature is just right for while you’re away, unless you plan to be gone for an extended period—or if there’s extreme cold in the forecast.

How Low Can You Go?

Most bathroom and kitchen pipes rely on your home heating system to keep them warm. That’s why you don’t want to set your thermostat below 60, even if your home is very well insulated.

If temperatures get too low in your home, water in your pipes can freeze and expand, eventually causing pipes to crack or burst. When the water melts again, the result can be severe water and structural damage and expensive repair work. There’s nothing worse than returning from a winter vacation only to find a water pipe has burst and flooded your home.

Longer Trips

Planning an extended vacation? A smart thermostat is a great tool that takes controlling the HVAC system in your home to the next level, helping you save energy and reduce propane heating costs. Smart Thermostats work with WiFi so you can adjust temperatures remotely, using your phone or a smart home device such as Alexa. They can even “learn” your preferences and adjust automatically, and when you’re traveling, you can check the weather at home and raise the thermostat a few degrees with an app on your phone while you’re sitting on a beach far away.

But for longer trips, you should also have someone who can check on your home, particularly if your neighborhood is prone to power outages from winter storms. Some smart meters will alert you if there is a problem with the power or your propane heating system, but not all of them. (A standby generator will kick on and keep your heat on, even if you’re away.)

Keep Us In the Loop

When you plan to be away for more than a week or two, you should let us know, too—especially if you are on automatic delivery for heating oil or propane. We calculate when you’ll need a delivery based on your typical usage as well as the weather. If you are not at home for a couple of weeks, you won’t use as much fuel and we can adjust your delivery.

Have questions about your heating system or automatic deliveries? We’re here for you! Contact the pros at Dorr Oil any time.