What to Set Your Thermostat to When Away

October 18, 2022

From a tropical vacation or a lengthy trip for work, taking a trip means making plans for your HVAC system. You don't need it if you’re not home, so you can adjust it as needed to conserve your energy use. Simultaneously, you don’t want to just shut it down for the entire time you're out of the house.

Instead, it’s ideal to leave your HVAC system on and just make adjustments depending on whether it's winter or summer. That way you can minimize energy costs without having to worry about returning to an uncomfortable home. We’ll walk you through why you shouldn’t turn your HVAC system off as well as the ideal thermostat settings for various times of year.

Here’s Why You Don't Leave Your Thermostat on Hold

While you might be tempted to shut your HVAC system down before a trip, this could end up causing big problems by the time you come back. This is especially true when the weather will be severely hot or cold while you’re away from home.

As an example, switching the HVAC system down during the summer can produce very high humidity. Not only will your home feel gross when you have returned, but it might have also encouraged mold/mildew growth or pest infestations.

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

Energy-Efficient Thermostat Settings While at Work

You can adjust the temperature even as you come and go to work. Since you’re out of the house for about 8 hours or longer, it doesn’t make sense to keep an empty home at the same temperature you’d usually have. As a general rule, it’s suggested to adjust the thermostat by 5 degrees or more. This means that if you prefer a comfortable 72 degrees, think about raising it to 76-77 while you’re at work.

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

Energy-Efficient Thermostat Settings While Away from Home in Summer

If you're on an extended trip in the hottest part of summer, you can make more significant adjustments. This ensures you don’t waste energy while still safeguarding your home from the issues that come with leaving it un-air conditioned. Around 5 degrees is recommended for short trips while a larger adjustment of 10 degrees is ideal if you’ll be away from home for 2 weeks or longer. If you like keeping the house at 72 in the summer, 78-82 will offer great results.

Ideal Thermostat Settings While on Vacation in Winter

To determine the best thermostat setting for a winter getaway, just lower the temperature by the same amount you would adjust it in summer. 68 is a frequent winter thermostat setting, so adjusting to 63-58 will prevent ice from forming on pipes while restricting how frequently your furnace runs.

A Smart Thermostat Can Help: Advantages of a Smart Thermostat

A great way to optimize your home’s HVAC system while away is by investing in a smart thermostat. This special type of programmable thermostat uses intelligent software to monitor your preferred comfort habits. It learns these preferences and makes automatic corrections to the schedule for higher energy efficiency. And with Wi-Fi compatibility, you can remotely access your HVAC system using a mobile device or tablet.

Smart thermostats are packed with features to help you save even more. To provide an example, some models can monitor electricity prices to bolster heating or cooling when prices are lowest. They can also work with high-efficiency, variable-speed equipment to optimize how long your HVAC system needs to run. It’s the perfect tool to enhance how you control your comfort system. If you’re considering investing in a smart thermostat, there are multiple ways you can bring down your costs, effectively 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 stir up any trouble while you’re away from home.