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With the holidays coming up, people are planning their winter vacations. As part of your vacation planning, make sure you take precautions to protect your home and heating system. You'll not only protect your home, but also save energy. Here are some things to consider.


Set your thermostat at about 50 degrees to keep your appliances and pipes from freezing. If you have a programmable thermostat that adjusts by date, set the temperature back to normal for the day you expect to return home.

Water Heater

Turn off the circuit breaker to your water heater. If you have a gas heater, turn off the gas valve. When you return home, run your hot water tap before you turn on the power and gas to ensure that your water tank is full. Turning on your water heater while the water tank is empty can damage the unit.

To keep water from freezing in the lines and tank, set the water heater at the lowest possible temperature--the vacation setting.


Unplug every unnecessary appliance and electronic device. That means the televisions, lamps, entertainment center, electric razors, coffee makers and phone chargers. These are energy vampires that drain energy even when you're not using them.

Automatic Light Devices

Use timers to have one or two lights go on at specific times. You might also want a radio to go on. Vary the times to deter burglars who might assume that your home isn't occupied.


You could empty your refrigerator, keep the door open, and place a box of baking soda inside. Alternatively, you could set the temperature at 42 degrees and your freezer at 5 degrees.

Other things you should do include:

  • Secure sliding glass.
  • Ask a to friend look in occasionally.
  • Lock up.
  • Move valuables away from windows where burglars can spot them.

For more information about protecting your home and heating system while on you're on vacation, contact Gilman Heating and Cooling. For nearly 100 hundred years, we've proudly served the residents of Ashland, Chesterfield, Glen Allen, Hanover, Henrico and Richmond.