What to Set Your Thermostat to When Away

October 18, 2022

Whether it’s a tropical vacation or a lengthy trip for work, taking a trip means making preparations for your home comfort system. You don't need it if you’re on a trip, so you can make adjustments as needed to minimize your energy use. Just the same, you shouldn't just leave it off for the entire time you're out of the house.

In general, it’s ideal to leave your HVAC system on and just raise or lower depending on whether it's winter or summer. That way you can minimize energy costs without stressing about coming back to an uncomfortable home. We’ll explain why you should leave your HVAC system on as well as the most energy-efficient thermostat settings for summer and winter.

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

While you could be inclined to shut your HVAC system down before a trip, this could end up stirring up costly problems by the time you come back. This is notably true in case the weather will be severely hot or cold while you’re away from home.

For instance, shutting the HVAC system down in the summer will sometimes produce very high humidity. Not only will your home feel gross when you return, but it could have also stimulated mold/mildew growth or pest infestations.

And in the winter, not using the furnace will sometimes lead to pipes freezing up or even bursting. It’s never fun to return home from a nice trip only to discover extensive water damage near a broken pipe.

Best Thermostat Settings While at Work

You can optimize the temperature even as you come and go to work. Since you’re out of the house for 8 hours or more, it doesn’t make sense to keep an empty home at the same temperature you’d usually have. Generally, it’s encouraged to adjust the thermostat by 5 degrees or so. That means that if you prefer a comfortable 72 degrees, try adjusting it to 76-77 while you’re gone.

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 expenses by making an adjustment of 7-10 degrees.

Energy-Efficient Thermostat Settings While on a Trip in Summer

If you’re leaving for a longer trip in the hottest part of summer, you can make more significant adjustments. This prevents wasting energy while still protecting your home from the hassles that come with leaving it uncooled. Around 5 degrees is appropriate for shorter trips while around 10 degrees is worthwhile 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 Away from Home in Winter

To figure out the ideal thermostat setting for a winter vacation, consider lowering the temperature by the same amount you would increase it in summer. 68 is a frequent winter thermostat setting, so turning it down to 63-58 will protect your plumbing while limiting how frequently your furnace runs.

A Smart Thermostat Can Help: Benefits of a Smart Thermostat

An ideal strategy to regulate your home’s HVAC system while out of the house is by investing in a smart thermostat. This special type of programmable thermostat uses intelligent software to track 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 control your heating and cooling with a smart device like a phone or tablet.

Smart thermostats are loaded 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 has to run. It’s the perfect tool to simplify how you use your comfort system. If you’re planning on 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 cause any trouble while you’re gone.