What to Set Your Thermostat to When Away

October 18, 2022

Between a tropical vacation or a long trip for work, traveling means making preparations for your home comfort system. You won’t be using it if you’re on a trip, so you can adjust the temperature as appropriate to limit your energy use. At the same time, you shouldn't just turn it off for the entire time you're gone.

In general, it’s best to leave your HVAC system going and just make adjustments depending on whether it's winter or summer. That way you can lower energy costs without worrying about getting back to an uncomfortable home. We’ll explain why you should leave your HVAC system on as well as the ideal thermostat settings for different times of year.

Here’s Why You Avoid Leaving Your Thermostat on Hold

While you may be wanting to shut your HVAC system down before a trip, this will sometimes end up causing costly problems by the time you come back. This is particularly true if the weather will be severely hot or cold while you’re gone.

As an example, turning the HVAC system off during the summer will sometimes lead to very high humidity. Not only will your home feel muggy and uncomfortable when you return, but it might have also invited mold/mildew growth or pest infestations.

And during the winter, not using the furnace might lead to pipes icing over or even bursting. It’s an awful feeling to return home from a nice trip only to discover substantial water damage near a broken pipe.

Best Thermostat Settings While at Work

You can optimize the temperature even if you’re coming and going to work. Since you’re not home for about 8 hours or longer, it doesn’t seem sensible to keep an empty home heated or cooled as if you were there. As a general rule, it’s suggested to turn up the thermostat by 5 degrees or so. This means that if you prefer a comfortable 72 degrees, try increasing it to 76-77 while you’re at work.

But you can save even more if you’re willing to further adjust the temperature. As reported by the Department of Energy, you may save nearly 10% on your HVAC spending by increasing the adjustment to 7-10 degrees.

Best Thermostat Settings While on a Trip in Summer

If you're on a longer trip in the middle of summer, you can make bigger adjustments. This ensures you don’t waste energy while still protecting your home from the problems that come with leaving it uncooled. About 5 degrees is recommended for brief trips while closer to 10 degrees is best if you’ll be gone for 2 weeks or longer. If you enjoy keeping the house at 72 in the summer, 78-82 will offer beneficial results.

Ideal Thermostat Settings While Away from Home in Winter

To figure out the ideal thermostat setting for a winter trip, simply lower it by the same amount you would raise it in summer. 68 is a frequent winter thermostat setting, so adjusting to 63-58 will protect your plumbing while minimizing how often your furnace runs.

A Smart Thermostat Can Help: Advantages of a Smart Thermostat

An ideal strategy to regulate your home’s HVAC system while out of the house is using a smart thermostat. This special type of programmable thermostat utilizes intelligent software to understand your preferred comfort habits. It gradually understands these preferences and makes automatic changes to the schedule for higher energy efficiency. And with Wi-Fi connectivity, you can remotely access your heating and cooling using a smartphone or tablet.

Smart thermostats are packed with features to help you save energy and lower costs. For instance, specific models can observe electricity prices to increase heating or cooling when prices are lower. They can be used with high-efficiency, variable-speed equipment to fine-tune how long your HVAC system needs to run. It’s the perfect tool to simplify how you control your comfort system. If you’re considering 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.