Winter Vacation: Should You Heat an Empty House or Not?

Just because no one is at home while you are on vacation during winter does not mean you can simply leave it cold. A lot of people think that winter temperatures would not cause any problems at home.

Contrary to this belief though, even a simple drop of temperature below 40 degrees Fahrenheit can cause serious damage to your home.

True enough that heat is not free. However, it is still cheaper to keep your empty home warm rather than dealing with serious damage repairs later. Even if you are not at home, your house still needs to be kept warm to a reasonable level.

Why It Is Important to Heat an Empty Home During Winter

It is tempting to just leave your empty house on its own device while you are away on vacation. After all, there is no one who will be bothered by the cold. But keep in mind that the cold will always leave a mark, particularly when you live in a cooler climate.

There are three major problems caused by cold temperatures in an unheated home. These are:

  • Flooding
  • Humidity and water damage
  • Flooding

Over time, unheated homes will have the same temperature as the outdoors. Even with the best insulation method, heat will eventually escape through vents, cracks, and even solid walls. This will significantly affect your home’s plumbing.

As the pipe gets too cold, it either freezes or cracks and leaks. This is a major problem, especially with older houses. If frozen or cracked pipes do not happen, cold temperatures would still lead to humidity problems.

Naturally, when you leave your home for an extended period, you seal it shut against the elements. But this sealing can either trap the humidity inside or your home exterior becomes warmer than the outdoors. Indoor condensation can cause mold, mildew, and serious water damage.

What Is the Ideal Temperature for an Empty Home


You do not need so much heating to protect your home from elements. According to experts, a vacant house needs to be at least 50 to 55 degrees Fahrenheit to be safe.

There are two factors you need to consider when keeping your home warm enough: the right heater temperature and keeping the cost down.

The majority of HVAC systems at home can keep a temperature of 55 degrees throughout the entire home. Anything less than such temperature could become less effective causing some of the corners of your house to go cold, putting your plumbing system at risk.

You have to spend money if you want to keep your home warm throughout the winter season while you are away. Keeping the temperature at 55 degrees Fahrenheit is a safe compromise between keeping your home safe and being cost-wise.

How You Can Winterize Your Empty Home

1. Check Plumbing

The first thing you need to ensure is in good condition before you leave for your winter vacation are your pipes. A residential plumbing service provider can run some maintenance checks to make sure there are no existing leaks and cracks in your pipes.

An excellent plumber can check your entire plumbing system inside out and prep it up for the cold temperature. Though it means shelling out money from your pocket, it still is cost-efficient as compared to having repairs done when you get home.

2. Turn off Water Supply

Aside from the pipes being checked, you also need to turn off your water supply. Otherwise, your lines are prone to breakage and leakage. Nonetheless, if you do not plan on shutting off the water supply, you can simply leave some water running through the pipes. This prevents water from freezing.

3. Drain Water Lines

You also do not want any water to remain in your pipes. If they do, they could freeze and expand, damaging your pipeline.

You can simply drain your water lines by turning on all the faucets in your home and flushing all the toilets. Do not forget to drain out all the water in your tanks.

4. Set the Thermostat

Another thing you need to consider is the temperature of your thermostat. As mentioned, keeping it at 55 degrees Fahrenheit is just about enough to keep your home safe and warm while keeping the heating cost on the down-low.

If you can set the fan through your thermostat, opt to keep the setting low but constant. Doing this helps avoid humidity from accumulating in just one room. It helps you avoid any humidity or condensation problems.

5. Keep Things Airtight

Finally, make sure you insulate your home properly. Leaving your empty house with leaking air could lead to your energy bill skyrocketing. Insulating your home simply means sealing doors, windows, and closing vents.

Your home is your biggest investment. It is only natural that you make sure it is protected especially when you leave it empty throughout the winter season.

Contact Us