In the winter, your home heating system does two important jobs – keeping you comfortable when you’re home and keeping your home safe when you aren’t. No one wants to come home to frozen pipes, whether it’s an unexpected cold snap while you’re at a holiday party that ran long or when you come back from a weekend visiting relatives. And, of course, you want to be as comfortable as possible in the winter without wasting energy and money.
Thinking about your home’s temperature might not be the first thing on your list when you are getting ready to travel or heading south for the winter. Yet if you don’t think about it, you could come home to an ugly mess.
What Should I Set My Heat to When on Vacation?
When taking a winter vacation, the best temperature to set your thermostat is usually 55 degrees, but that’s not always the case.
The U.S. Department of Energy says it’s important to keep your floors and walls that likely have pipes in or under them at about 55 degrees Fahrenheit. However, if your heat isn’t central or doesn’t heat the exterior walls and floors as efficiently, you might need to have the thermostat set higher to maintain 55 degrees where the pipes are. This is especially important if you are leaving the house unoccupied for a large portion or all of the winter. Some other precautions and home preparations for winter vacations can help you save energy and ensure no mishaps happen.
What Temperature Should You Leave an Occupied Home in Winter?
As explained above, a minimum of 55 degrees Fahrenheit is important to avoid frozen pipes – but you might need to set the temperature warmer if you have pipes that go through exterior walls or crawl spaces, especially if those areas are not well insulated. Ideally, if you are leaving your home unoccupied for the winter, you should install alarms to monitor if the area near your pipes gets too cold or if you should have an unexpected break.
If that’s not possible, State Farm suggests enlisting a trusted friend or neighbor to check the house regularly, including checking for cold spots near the pipes. Having someone who is local check the interior of your home while you are away, especially for snowbirds, is an important part of coming home to a house that is just as comfortable as when you left it.
Additionally, Long Island’s cold, wet winters aren’t great for your home furnishings if they are not kept at a reasonably warm temperature. Everything from your car to your curtains and clothing can end up smelling like mildew or even mold if the temperature in your house varies drastically from week to week.
Should Snowbirds Turn Off the Water Heater in the Winter?
While some plumbers recommend turning off your water heater when you leave for the winter, Popular Mechanics says that’s not the best idea. Turning the heat down on the water heater can help you save energy without risking the water tank freezing if the house should lose power for an extended period of time. Snowbirds should take the time to winterize their house if they are going to be gone for several months, but even then, keeping your home warm to about 55 degrees is the safest way to avoid a big plumbing bill when you come home gain.
Tragar Express Can Help Keep Your Home Comfy This Winter
The best option for keeping your home and all your belongings in good working order and odor-free this winter is to maintain an even warm temperature inside. Whether you are here or enjoying the Florida sun, Tragar Express can help by keeping your heating oil stocked when you need it. Contact us today!