What Temperature Should You Keep a Vacant House At?

May 24, 2022

Set your thermostat to at least 55°F/16°C if you leave your home for an extended period in the winter. In the summer, it’s advisable to fix your air conditioning to maintain a temperature between 85°F and 90°F or 29°C and 32°C.

Although you won’t be home, maintaining these temperatures in your vacant house prevents frozen pipes and mould issues. In some instances, not setting your vacant home to the right temperature can void your home insurance and leave you to pay damages caused by extreme cold or hot temperatures out of pocket.

This article reviews the temperatures to maintain your vacant home throughout the year and further reflects on the consequences of not setting the proper temperature.

Recommended thermostat settings for the summer in Canada

Try to set your air conditioning unit to maintain 90°F/32°C or lower. This prevents hotter temperatures from affecting the inside of your home while you’re gone.

Also, consider whether you have pets or other temperature-sensitive things in your home. Goldfish or lizards won’t come along on any vacations, so it’s vital to keep them comfortable while you’re gone.

Recommended thermostat settings for the winter in Canada — What temperature is too cold for a house?

It’s recommended that you keep your home above 55°F/16°C in the winter. This is generally warm enough to prevent water from freezing inside of pipes. Also, maintaining this temperature shouldn’t drill a hole in your pocket unless you live in a frigid province or face a brutal winter.

Again, consider the needs of pets and anything else that might face harm due to an extended period of cold temperatures.

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What happens if I don’t set the proper temperature when I leave my home?

Frozen pipes are usually the most significant issue with not setting the proper temperature in your vacant home. The water in your pipes freezes, water expands, and there’s usually damage to pipes as a result. This can further lead to water damage throughout your home.

This type of damage is usually not covered by home insurance because it’s considered your own fault. Your home insurance policy likely excludes frozen pipes.
Additionally, frozen pipes mean coming home to a lack of running water. Everything’s frozen after all! Imagine coming from the airport to realize you can’t shower, wash dishes, or do anything else that requires a faucet.

Cold and hot temperatures can also cause humidity, leading to mould and other issues. This usually happens when fluctuating temperatures create moisture. Cold nights that turn into sunny and hot days cause parts of your home to trap moisture.

Although unrelated to the temperature of your home, make sure to inform your insurance company when you vacate your home for extended periods. Home insurance contracts may be void when your property is left vacant. Vacant homes may require a separate vacant home insurance policy.

How can I keep my home efficiently cooled or heated?

When nobody is there, heating or cooling your home might seem like a money drain. But not doing so leads to even more financial pain.

These steps can help you reduce how much you need to heat or cool your property:

  • Close vents: Vent airflow for your oven or dryer are essential when you’re living at home. But when you’re not there, they’re another way for heated or air-conditioned air to get out and cause your home to adopt the outside temperature quickly.
  • Seal doors and windows: Old windows and doors can leak indoor temperatures out of your home and let outside temperatures in. That doesn’t necessarily mean you need to replace all your windows and doors to save a few bucks on your energy costs. Often, purpose-specific window film can prevent cold or hot air from getting in or out. For doors, you can replace weatherstripping on the frame to improve its sealing.
  • Use a smart thermostat: a programmable thermostat is great for vacant homes. It lets you change the temperature when you’re not physically present at the property. If you’re away on vacation for a few weeks, you can cool or heat your home before you get back. As a result, it feels like you never turned off your heat or air conditioning, but your energy bill will thank you.

If your home is vacant, it’s essential to keep it at at least 55°F/16°C in the winter and a maximum of 90°F/32°C in the summer. This can keep your electricity bill low without the risk of frozen pipes or moisture that leads to mould.

Completely turning off air conditioning or heat might save you a few dollars a month but then cost you a lot in the long run. A homeowner who doesn’t keep that 55°F/16°C is at-risk of water damage and broken pipes that home insurance might not cover.

If you have a vacant property due to an extended vacation or an inability to find a tenant, you might need a vacant home insurance policy.

Find out how much a tailored homeowners insurance plan will cost for you with a free quote from NEXUS. Our insurance advisors are ready to answer your questions over web chat or phone.

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