What to Set Your Thermostat to When Away

October 18, 2022

From a tropical vacation or an extended trip for work, taking a trip means making plans for your heating and cooling system. You don't need it as long as you’re away, so you can make adjustments as needed to limit your energy use. Simultaneously, you don’t want to just shut it down for the entire duration of your trip.

In general, it’s best to leave your HVAC system going and just make adjustments depending on the time of year. That way you can minimize energy costs without having to worry about coming back 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 could be wanting to leave your HVAC system off before a trip, this could end up leading to big problems by the time you return. This is particularly true in case the weather will be severely hot or cold while you’re gone.

For example, shutting the HVAC system off during the summer will sometimes lead to very high humidity. Not only will your home feel like a swamp when you come back, but it might have also encouraged mold/mildew growth or pest infestations.

And in the winter, leaving the furnace off could lead to pipes icing over or even bursting. It’s never fun to come home from a long trip only to come across substantial water damage nearby a broken pipe.

Best Thermostat Settings While at Work

You can make temperature adjustments even when you're just going to work. Considering you’re away for 8 hours or more, it doesn’t seem sensible to keep an empty home at the same temperature you’d usually have. Generally, it’s recommended to adjust the thermostat by 5 degrees or so. Meaning that if you prefer a comfortable 72 degrees, think about raising it to 76-77 while you’re gone.

But you may save even more if you’re willing to further adjust 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.

Best Thermostat Settings While on a Trip in Summer

If you’re leaving for an extended trip in the heart of summer, you can make larger adjustments. This prevents wasting energy while still protecting your home from the hassles that come with leaving it un-air conditioned. Something like 5 degrees is suitable for shorter trips while closer to 10 degrees is worthwhile if you’ll be out of town for 2 weeks or longer. If you prefer keeping the house at 72 in the summer, 78-82 should offer great results.

Recommended Thermostat Settings While on Vacation in Winter

To determine the best thermostat setting for a winter vacation, simply lower it by the same amount you would adjust it in summer. 68 is a popular winter thermostat setting, so lowering it to 63-58 will keep your plumbing safe while restricting how long your furnace operates.

A Smart Thermostat Can Help: Benefits of a Smart Thermostat

One of the best ways to optimize your home’s HVAC system while away from home is with a smart thermostat. This advanced type of programmable thermostat uses intelligent software to track your usual comfort habits. It applies these preferences and makes automatic changes to the schedule for better energy efficiency. And with Wi-Fi connectivity, you can remotely control your HVAC system using a mobile device or tablet.

Smart thermostats are packed with features to help you save energy and lower costs. For instance, some models can monitor electricity prices to boost heating or cooling when prices are more affordable. They can also work with high-efficiency, variable-speed equipment to refine how long your HVAC system should run. It’s the ideal tool to enhance how you control your comfort system. If you’re planning on investing in a smart thermostat, there are multiple ways you can lower your costs, effectively getting a smart thermostat for free. The next time you are away from home, you can appreciate true peace of mind that your HVAC system won’t cause any trouble while you’re away from home.