What to Set Your Thermostat to When Away

October 18, 2022

From a relaxing vacation or a long trip for work, leaving home means making preparations for your heating and cooling system. You can't use it while you’re on a trip, so you can adjust the temperature as appropriate to limit your energy use. Simultaneously, you don’t want to just leave it off for the entire time you're out of the house.

In general, it’s best to leave your HVAC system running and just make adjustments depending on the time of year. That way you can lower energy costs without stressing about getting back to an uncomfortable home. We’ll review why you should leave your HVAC system on as well as the best thermostat settings for different times of year.

Here’s Why You Avoid Leaving Your Thermostat on Hold

While you may be tempted to turn your HVAC system off before a trip, this can end up leading to annoying problems by the time you get back. This is especially true when the weather will be severely hot or cold while you’re away from home.

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

And during the winter, letting your house get cold can lead to pipes freezing up or even bursting. It’s never fun to come home from a long trip only to discover extensive water damage nearby a broken pipe.

Ideal Thermostat Settings While at Work

You can optimize the temperature even when you're just going to work. Considering you’re out of the house for around 8 hours or so, it doesn’t help your monthly energy bill to keep an empty home the same temperature as when you're home. As a general rule, it’s suggested to raise the thermostat by 5 degrees or so. Meaning that if you prefer a comfortable 72 degrees, try raising 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 around 10% on your HVAC expenses by increasing the adjustment to 7-10 degrees.

Energy-Efficient Thermostat Settings While on Vacation in Summer

If you're on a lengthier trip in the middle of summer, you can make larger adjustments. This prevents wasting energy while still safeguarding your home from the problems that come with leaving it un-air conditioned. Around 5 degrees is suitable for brief 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 can offer the best results.

Recommended Thermostat Settings While On a Trip in Winter

To determine the ideal thermostat setting for a winter trip, simply lower it by the same amount you would increase it in summer. 68 is a popular winter thermostat setting, so adjusting to 63-58 will keep your plumbing safe while restricting how long your furnace operates.

A Smart Thermostat Can Help: Perks of a Smart Thermostat

An ideal strategy to manage your home’s HVAC system while away from home is using a smart thermostat. This innovative type of programmable thermostat uses intelligent software to monitor your usual comfort habits. It applies these preferences and makes automatic changes to the schedule for maximum energy efficiency. And with Wi-Fi compatibility, you can remotely access your HVAC system from a smart device like a phone or tablet.

Smart thermostats are loaded with features to help you save on your energy bill. 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 should run. It’s the ideal tool to streamline how you use your comfort system. If you’re thinking about investing in a smart thermostat, there are a variety of ways you can bring down your costs, effectively getting a smart thermostat for free. The next time you are away from home, you can receive true peace of mind that your HVAC system won’t cause any trouble while you’re gone.