What to Set Your Thermostat to When Away

October 18, 2022

Whether it’s a relaxing vacation or a long trip for work, traveling 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 minimize your energy use. Just the same, you don’t want to just turn it off for the entire time you're gone.

Instead, it’s ideal to leave your HVAC system going and adjust the temperature depending on the season. That way you can lower energy costs without stressing about getting back to an uncomfortable home. We’ll walk you through why you should leave your HVAC system on 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 could be inclined to leave your HVAC system off before a trip, this will sometimes end up stirring up costly problems by the time you get back. This is particularly true in case the weather will be severely hot or cold while you’re away from home.

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

And in the winter, leaving the furnace off can lead to pipes freezing up or even bursting. It’s an awful feeling to get home from a long trip only to come across substantial water damage close to a broken pipe.

Best Thermostat Settings While at Work

You can optimize the temperature even when you're just going to work. Considering you’re not home for about 8 hours or longer, it doesn’t make sense to keep an empty home the same temperature as when you're home. In general, it’s encouraged to adjust the thermostat by 5 degrees or more. That means that if you prefer a comfortable 72 degrees, consider adjusting it to 76-77 while you’re at work.

But you may save even more if you try further adjustments to the temperature. As reported by the Department of Energy, you may save nearly 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 leaving for a longer trip in the hottest part of summer, you can make more significant adjustments. This ensures you don’t waste energy while still defending your home from the problems that come with leaving it uncooled. Something like 5 degrees is appropriate for short trips while around 10 degrees is worthwhile if you’ll be out of town for 2 weeks or longer. If you enjoy keeping the house at 72 in the summer, 78-82 will offer the best results.

Recommended Thermostat Settings While Away from Home in Winter

To try and find the ideal thermostat setting for a winter vacation, just lower the temperature by the same amount you would adjust it in summer. 68 is a frequent winter thermostat setting, so lowering it to 63-58 will protect your plumbing while restricting how often your furnace runs.

A Smart Thermostat Can Help: Perks of a Smart Thermostat

One of the best ways to regulate your home’s HVAC system while away is with a smart thermostat. This special type of programmable thermostat employs intelligent software to monitor your usual comfort habits. It applies these preferences and makes automatic changes to the schedule for higher energy efficiency. And with Wi-Fi connectivity, you can remotely control your heating and cooling from a smart device like a phone or tablet.

Smart thermostats are loaded with features to help you save energy and lower costs. For example, certain models can observe electricity prices to bolster heating or cooling when prices are more affordable. 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 lower 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 stir up any trouble while you’re away from home.