Many budget savvy Canadians take the smart move of lowering their thermostat and water heater while they’re away on vacation. This decision is a triple win; it conserves resources, it’s better for the environment, and it saves you money. But with winter dropping into the -20s, just how low can you set your thermostat while you’re away without endangering critical home systems, like your plumbing?
Furnace Temperature Settings.
The lowest your home’s temperature should ever be set is 10°C. Every house has cold and warm spots, and keeping the temperature at a minimum of 10°C should ensure that even the coldest spots stay above freezing. If your house is older and needs more insulation or your basement is typically frigid, stick to 15°C, just to be safe. If you have house plants or a big, long haired dog that’s staying home while you’re away, it’s also better to keep the house around 15°C. Cats like the home warmer, a minimum of 18°C is best for feline comfort.
Remember to have someone check in on your house regularly. Even if you don’t have pets that need looking after, having someone come by daily (or twice a day!) will help keep your house looking lived in and active — reducing your risk of crime. Your house sitter will also be able to keep an eye on things around the house, so you don’t need to worry about leaks or furnace failures while you’re away.
Hot Water Temperature Settings.
We’ve met many Calgarians who simply turn their hot water heater off while they’re away. Unfortunately, that’s probably not the best idea. Your hot water heater is set to keep water warm enough that bacteria can’t grow in it. When you turn the heater off, you invite all those unwanted germs and moulds to set up shop while you’re away. If you want to turn your water heater off entirely, that’s fine, but you’ll have to drain it first.
Since your heater will collect sediment (sometimes by the bucketful!) over the course of the year, you should be draining it annually anyways. Take your upcoming vacation as an excuse to clear away the gunk and save a few bucks on heating!
Inspection & Maintenance.
Of course, the best way to make sure you’re not spending too much on heating your home and water is to keep both your furnace and water heater working optimally. Make sure you remember to change your furnace filter on time (it’ll need to be changed every 1-3 months at a minimum, so check your manufacturer’s recommendations!) to prevent your furnace from overworking. A phone reminder works great if you have a hard time remembering. Beyond that basic furnace maintenance and clearing sediment from the bottom of your hot water tank, it’s a good idea to have an annual inspection from a trusted professional.
Nowadays, most furnaces and hot water tanks will require an annual inspection if you want the manufacturer to honour the warranty. Water heater and furnace inspections help to spot the little problems before they become expensive ones. They also allow you to make informed decisions about necessary repairs, and help homeowners to extend the lifespan of these important appliances by decades.
Want to save a little money while you’re away for the holidays? Turning down your furnace is a great way to do it, but remember to also change the filter! And, if you haven’t had your furnace and hot water tank inspected this year, maybe schedule that for before you leave. So you can enjoy your vacation without worries. Call us today.