What to Set Your Thermostat to When Away

October 18, 2022

From a relaxing vacation or a lengthy trip for work, taking a trip means making plans for your heating and cooling system. You don't need 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 turn it off for the entire time you're gone.

In general, it’s ideal to leave your HVAC system on and just raise or lower depending on the time of year. That way you can minimize energy costs without having to worry about getting back to an uncomfortable home. We’ll walk you through why you should avoid turning your HVAC system off as well as the most energy-efficient thermostat settings for summer and winter.

Here’s Why You Avoid Leaving Your Thermostat on Hold

While you might be wanting to leave your HVAC system off before a trip, this can end up causing costly problems by the time you return. This is especially true in case the weather will be severely hot or cold while you’re away from home.

For example, turning the HVAC system down during the summer will sometimes cause very high humidity. Not only will your home feel like a swamp when you return, but it could have also encouraged mold/mildew growth or pest infestations.

And in the winter, letting your house get cold will sometimes lead to pipes freezing up or even bursting. It’s exhausting to get home from a long trip only to discover substantial water damage close to a broken pipe.

Best Thermostat Settings While at Work

You can optimize the temperature even as you come and go to work. Considering you’re away for around 8 hours or so, it doesn’t make sense to keep an empty home at the same temperature you’d usually have. As a general rule, it’s encouraged to turn up the thermostat by 5 degrees or so. Meaning that if you prefer a comfortable 72 degrees, think about increasing it to 76-77 while you’re at work.

But you could save even more if you're open to further adjusting the temperature. As stated by the Department of Energy, you could save about 10% on your HVAC costs by raising the temperature by about 7-10 degrees.

Ideal Thermostat Settings While on Vacation in Summer

If you leave for an extended trip in the hottest part of summer, you can make more significant adjustments. This helps you avoid using too much energy while still defending your home from the problems that come with leaving it un-air conditioned. Around 5 degrees is appropriate for short trips while closer to 10 degrees is best 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 beneficial results.

Recommended Thermostat Settings While Away from Home in Winter

To figure out the most energy-efficient thermostat setting for a winter trip, simply lower it by the same amount you would raise it in summer. 68 is a popular winter thermostat setting, so lowering it to 63-58 will prevent ice from forming on pipes while restricting how often your furnace operates.

A Smart Thermostat Can Help: Advantages of a Smart Thermostat

A great way to optimize your home’s HVAC system while out of the house is by investing in a smart thermostat. This innovative type of programmable thermostat employs 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 compatibility, you can remotely access your heating and cooling using a mobile device or tablet.

Smart thermostats are packed with features to help you save even more. For instance, some models can track electricity prices to boost heating or cooling when prices are lower. They can also work with high-efficiency, variable-speed equipment to fine-tune how long your HVAC system has to run. It’s the perfect tool to simplify 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 enjoy true peace of mind that your HVAC system won’t stir up any trouble while you’re gone.