What to Set Your Thermostat to When Away

October 18, 2022

From a relaxing vacation or an extended trip for work, leaving home means making preparations for your home comfort system. You can't use it while you’re not home, so you can adjust it as necessary to minimize your energy use. At the same time, you don’t want to just leave it off for the entire duration of your trip.

For the most part, it’s ideal to leave your HVAC system running and adjust the temperature depending on the season. That way you can reduce energy costs without stressing about returning to an uncomfortable home. We’ll walk you through why you shouldn’t turn 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 leave your HVAC system off before a trip, this will sometimes end up causing annoying problems by the time you get back. This is notably true if the weather will be severely hot or cold while you’re away from home.

For instance, switching the HVAC system down in the summer can produce very high humidity. Not only will your home feel muggy and uncomfortable when you come back, but it may have also encouraged mold/mildew growth or pest infestations.

And in the winter, leaving the furnace off might lead to pipes freezing or even bursting. It’s an awful feeling to get home from a vacation only to come across extensive water damage nearby a broken pipe.

Energy-Efficient Thermostat Settings While at Work

You can optimize the temperature even as you come and go to work. Because you’re out of the house for about 8 hours or longer, it doesn’t help your monthly energy bill to keep an empty home at the same temperature you’d usually have. In general, it’s suggested to turn up the thermostat by 5 degrees or more. Meaning that if you prefer a comfortable 72 degrees, consider adjusting it to 76-77 while you’re at work.

But you can save even more if you try further adjustments to the temperature. As stated by the Department of Energy, you may save about 10% on your HVAC costs by raising the temperature by about 7-10 degrees.

Energy-Efficient Thermostat Settings While on a Trip in Summer

If you leave for an extended trip in the heart of summer, you can make bigger adjustments. This prevents wasting energy while still defending your home from the problems that come with leaving it without air conditioning. About 5 degrees is suitable for brief trips while closer to 10 degrees is best if you’ll be away from home for 2 weeks or more. If you prefer keeping the house at 72 in the summer, 78-82 can offer beneficial results.

Recommended Thermostat Settings While Away from Home in Winter

To try and find the best thermostat setting for a winter getaway, simply lower it by the same amount you would adjust it in summer. 68 is a common winter thermostat setting, so turning it down to 63-58 will keep your plumbing safe while restricting how long your furnace runs.

A Smart Thermostat Can Help: Perks of a Smart Thermostat

A great way to manage your home’s HVAC system while away from home is by investing in a smart thermostat. This special type of programmable thermostat uses intelligent software to track your typical comfort habits. It applies these preferences and makes automatic corrections to the schedule for better energy efficiency. And with Wi-Fi connectivity, you can remotely access your heating and cooling with a smartphone or tablet.

Smart thermostats are loaded with features to help you save energy and lower costs. For instance, specific models can monitor electricity prices to increase heating or cooling when prices are more affordable. They can also work with high-efficiency, variable-speed equipment to optimize how long your HVAC system needs to run. It’s the optimal tool to streamline how you control your comfort system. If you’re thinking about investing in a smart thermostat, there are multiple ways you can reduce your costs, in essence getting a smart thermostat for free. The next time you leave for vacation, you can appreciate true peace of mind that your HVAC system won’t cause any trouble while you’re away from home.