Should I turn my furnace off when I go on vacation?

It may not seem like it now, with the breezy summerish temperatures we’ve experienced lately, but winter weather is going to eventually happen here in the greater Kansas City area. Though some may hope the season skips us, Mother Nature has not yet complied with that request, necessitating the preparation of your home’s heating system for the winter months. We HIGHLY suggest that you invest in some form of preventative maintenance for your furnace, as this will help you system’s efficiency, while saving you money on your heating bill and extending your product’s lifespan. Also, having been in business for 33 years and counting, we have accumulated a bit of expertise regarding what you should and shouldn’t do with your system in each season. In this week’s blog we address one of the most common questions our technicians are asked each winter:

Should I turn my furnace off when I go on vacation?

As the cold weather hits some of us flee for a brief respite in warmer conditions. As a company we have noticed that there is confusion about whether it is smarter, and/or more cost efficient, to completely turn your system off when you leave for vacation, or instead keep it running while turning the temperature down a significant number of degrees. The definitive answer is that you should turn your heat down, but not completely off, when going on vacation.

Now, you might read that and think to yourself “Hey, why would I want my system running when I’m not home? That’s just wasting money!” The answer to this is that keeping your system on and running protects you and your home. Keeping your system running while you’re gone at a lowered temperature will prevent your pipes from freezing in your absence and potentially bursting – a costly wet mess you certainly want to avoid. Turning your heat off completely also means your house is largely subject to any and all types of environmental factors. An unexpected snowstorm or an extended freeze while away could bring disastrous results to your household appliances, as there is no protection against the vicious cold. Lastly, keeping your furnace running while away could also prove to be cheaper for you, as your system has to work much harder when you completely turn your furnace off to get your home back to a comfortable temperature. Turning your system completely off, combined with the natural effects of the colder weather, will cool down your home so much that heating it back to a comfortable temperature when you’re home takes more energy (also known as more money) than letting it run while you’re away would have.

Our recommendation:

While away lower the temperature on your thermostat 7-10 degrees from what you normally have it set at. It should be set roughly between 50-60 degrees; the lower you set it, the more savings, but go to low and you open yourself up for the possibilities of your pipes freezing. So, somewhere between 50-60 degrees is a good barometer. This is best done with a digital or Wi-Fi enabled thermostat, but a standard thermostat will also work as well.

Need help with your plumbing or heating or air conditioning system in the Kansas City area? Polestar Plumbing, Heating & A/C can help. Contact us online, or call us at (913) 432-3342 for more information.