What to Set Your Thermostat to When Away

October 18, 2022

Whether it’s a tropical vacation or a lengthy trip for work, leaving home means making plans for your heating and cooling system. You can't use it if you’re away, so you can adjust the temperature as appropriate to conserve your energy use. Simultaneously, you don’t want to just leave it off for the entire duration of your trip.

For the most part, it’s best to leave your HVAC system running and adjust the temperature depending on the season. That way you can lower energy costs without worrying about getting back to an uncomfortable home. We’ll review why you should avoid turning your HVAC system off as well as the most energy-efficient thermostat settings for different times of year.

Here’s Why You Shouldn’t Leave Your Thermostat on Hold

While you may be tempted to turn your HVAC system off before a trip, this can end up causing annoying problems by the time you get back. This is especially true in case the weather will be severely hot or cold while you’re out of town.

As an example, turning the HVAC system off during the summer can produce very high humidity. Not only will your home feel like a swamp when you come back, but it could have also stimulated mold/mildew growth or pest infestations.

And over the winter, letting your house get cold could lead to pipes freezing or even bursting. It’s an awful feeling to get home from a vacation only to discover extensive water damage near a broken pipe.

Energy-Efficient Thermostat Settings While at Work

You can make temperature adjustments even if you’re coming and going to work. Because you’re out of the house for 8 hours or more, it doesn’t seem sensible to keep an empty home heated or cooled as if you were there. As a general rule, it’s recommended to turn up the thermostat by 5 degrees or more. That means that if you prefer a comfortable 72 degrees, consider adjusting it to 76-77 while you’re gone.

But you may save even more if you're open to further adjusting the temperature. According to the Department of Energy, you might save about 10% on your HVAC spending by making an adjustment of 7-10 degrees.

Best Thermostat Settings While Away from Home in Summer

If you're on a lengthier trip in the heart of summer, you can make larger adjustments. This ensures you don’t waste energy while still defending your home from the problems that come with leaving it un-air conditioned. About 5 degrees is recommended for short trips while a larger adjustment of 10 degrees is worthwhile if you’ll be out of town for 2 weeks or more. If you like keeping the house at 72 in the summer, 78-82 will offer the best results.

Recommended Thermostat Settings While Away from Home in Winter

To figure out the ideal thermostat setting for a winter getaway, just lower the temperature by the same amount you would adjust it in summer. 68 is a popular winter thermostat setting, so adjusting to 63-58 will keep your plumbing safe while limiting how often your furnace operates.

A Smart Thermostat Can Help: Advantages of a Smart Thermostat

One of the best ways to manage your home’s HVAC system while out of the house is by investing in a smart thermostat. This special type of programmable thermostat uses intelligent software to monitor your usual comfort habits. It learns these preferences and makes automatic changes to the schedule for better energy efficiency. And with Wi-Fi connectivity, you can remotely control your heating and cooling from a mobile device or tablet.

Smart thermostats are stuffed with features to help you save energy and lower costs. For example, some models can track electricity prices to bolster heating or cooling when prices are lower. They are compatible with high-efficiency, variable-speed equipment to optimize how long your HVAC system has to run. It’s the ideal tool to streamline how you use your comfort system. If you’re considering investing in a smart thermostat, there are a variety of ways you can reduce your costs, essentially getting a smart thermostat for free. The next time you leave for vacation, you can receive true peace of mind that your HVAC system won’t stir up any trouble while you’re away from home.