Turning the Heat off While on VacationWinter time is a great time to take a vacation. Get away from the cold weather and snow to somewhere sunny and warm.  Most people are really excited about their vacation and forget to think about their homes while they are away. One person I know left for two months without considering what would happen if the furnace stopped working. The heat system stopped working and the pipes froze while he was away.  The bill for repairs cost him $95,000 to have the repairs completed for water damage from cracked frozen water pipes. Turning the Heat off While on Vacation was very expensive for my friend.

Never Turn Your Furnace Off

For the record you should never turn your furnace off While on Vacation. You may want to turn the thermostat down while you are away to save money and reduce your heating costs.

Most people will turn down the thermostat in their homes when they are away for an extended period.  With the cost of heating fuel these days it is becoming more important to do this to save money and reduce your heating and electrical bills. The question is what temperature should you set the thermostat to while you are away? The answer really depends on a number of things.

  • Do you have plants
  • How long are you going
  • Do you have pets that will be at home
  • How cold does it get outside
  • Are there water pipes along exterior walls that might freeze
  • What does your insurance company require

Turning the Heat off While on Vacation – Consider Your Pets

If you have pets, you probably want to maintain the temperature at a level they are used to. Otherwise, they will suffer needlessly during cold evenings and nights. Some plants may also not do well if the home is too cold.

If you are planning to leave for more than a few days on vacation or a business trip there are a number of items to think about before you go so that you will not have to deal with a catastrophe when you return. We all want to save money, but there are some things that we just cannot avoid, otherwise, the cost could be much greater than what we are saving. Here is a partial list of items to consider. For a more complete list click here.

We put together a brief checklist of items that you may want to consider before leaving your home empty while on vacation.

  • Call your insurance company to confirm what they require to maintain your insurance. Many will not approve your claim unless you are following their guidelines.
  • Turn the water off before you go. Even if the furnace  is off and your pipes do freeze there will be far less damage to your home.
  • Turn down the thermostat to a reasonable level. We turn ours down to 60F or 17C, while other people are even more aggressive turning the thermostat down even lower.
  • Unplug all TV’s , radios, etc so that your electricity bill is minimized while you are away
  • Set lights on timers so that passersby will think someone is at home
  • Arrange for someone to clear the snow off the driveway while you are away
  • Have someone to pick up the mail and look after pets if you have pets
  • Arrange for someone to check on the house on a regular basis following the guidelines of your insurance company

Smart Meters

More and more people are also installing smart thermostats which allow them to control the temperature of their home remotely. For some this is a great invention which allows them to monitor the temperature and remotely set it to correspond with colder or warmer outdoor temperatures.

You can also check out a more comprehensive website by clicking here to review a full list of do’s and don’ts. Our travel web site as well has a list of steps to consider if you are moving to another country or going on a longer vacation.

We appreciate comments and suggestions about this topic. You can save money by reducing the heat while you are gone on vacation, however it pays to be smart about it and avoid larger expenses by not going overboard!