What to do with the Furnace over Winter Vacation
● By Digital Media Director
By: Travis Ball, Foley’s Heating & AC of Sioux Falls
There are many families that travel over the holidays, leaving their home unoccupied during what could be very cold days. As you make your vacation plans you may think that it’s a good idea to turn your heat off while you are gone and save some money, because why waste heat when there is nobody home to enjoy it.
Here are a few tips on what to do with your furnace while on winter vacation.
1. Turn it down, but please do not turn it off. It certainly makes sense to turn your thermostat down while you are gone. While you and your family are comfortable with it being nice and cozy while you are home, it doesn’t need to be that warm while you are gone. What you do not want to do is turn it off though. Even if the temperature are not going to get below freezing, you risk the potential of frozen pipes while you are gone. Forecasts and temperatures can change dramatically in South Dakota, so you are better off playing it safe by keeping it low and on. Another thing to consider is if you plan on leaving pets home (dogs, cats, fish, birds, etc) or having someone stop in to check on them or keep an eye on the house you will want it to still be comfortable for them. A good rule of thumb would be no more than 6 degrees cooler than what you are comfortable at. I’d recommend never setting it below 60 degrees while you are gone, pets or no pets.
2. Work smarter, not harder. If you were to turn off your furnace while you are gone, chances are it’s going to get pretty chilly while you are gone and that means your furnace has to work harder once it’s back on to get to a comfortable temperature. Depending on how old your furnace is, that could put too much strain on it at one time over having it run a more regular cycle while you are gone.
3. Program it. If you have a programmable thermostat, be sure to take advantage of programming it. That way you can keep it on a more efficient cycle while you are gone and then program it to kick in a little warmer before you arrive back from your trip.
4. Don’t Forget. While you are thinking about your furnace you should also consider setting your water heater to vacation mode, to where it is still on but it is not heating water as much and can save you some time. Just don’t forget to turn it back on when you get back or that first shower from vacation will be a bit frigid.
5. Maintenance. It’s a good idea to get your furnace regularly inspected, which can save you a lot of time, money and headaches. It’s never fun to end a vacation coming home to a serious heating issue. A yearly inspection and maintenance can help prevent those issues and keeps your furnace running great while you are away and spending holiday time with your friends and family.
The holidays are about spending quality time with the ones you care about most, so following these few tips before you head over the river and through the woods will help you enjoy it even more as you will not have to worry about your home.