What to Set Your Thermostat to When Away

October 18, 2022

From a much-needed vacation or a lengthy trip for work, traveling means making preparations for your home comfort system. You won’t be using it as long as you’re away, so you can adjust the temperature as appropriate to conserve your energy use. Simultaneously, you shouldn't just shut it down for the entire time you're out of the house.

For the most part, it’s better to leave your HVAC system going and adjust the temperature depending on the season. That way you can minimize energy costs without worrying about returning to an uncomfortable home. We’ll review why you shouldn’t turn your HVAC system off as well as the best thermostat settings for different times of year.

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

While you may be inclined to leave your HVAC system off before a trip, this can end up stirring up costly problems by the time you get back. This is especially true if the weather will be severely hot or cold while you’re gone.

For example, switching the HVAC system down in the summer will sometimes cause very high humidity. Not only will your home feel like a swamp when you return, but it may have also invited mold/mildew growth or pest infestations.

And in the winter, not using the furnace might lead to pipes freezing or even bursting. It’s never fun to get home from a nice trip only to come across considerable water damage close to a broken pipe.

Ideal Thermostat Settings While at Work

You can make temperature adjustments even if you’re coming and going to work. Because you’re not home for 8 hours or more, it doesn’t seem sensible to keep an empty home at the same temperature you’d usually have. In general, it’s encouraged to raise 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 gone.

But you can save even more if you try further adjustments to the temperature. As stated by the Department of Energy, you might save around 10% on your HVAC costs by raising the temperature by about 7-10 degrees.

Best Thermostat Settings While on a Trip in Summer

If you’re leaving for a lengthier trip in the heart of summer, you can make more significant adjustments. This ensures you don’t waste energy while still safeguarding your home from the problems that come with leaving it without air conditioning. About 5 degrees is recommended for brief trips while around 10 degrees is best if you’ll be gone for 2 weeks or longer. If you prefer keeping the house at 72 in the summer, 78-82 will offer the best results.

Recommended Thermostat Settings While On a Trip in Winter

To try and find the ideal thermostat setting for a winter getaway, just lower the temperature by the same amount you would adjust it in summer. 68 is a popular winter thermostat setting, so lowering it to 63-58 will prevent ice from forming on pipes while minimizing how often your furnace operates.

A Smart Thermostat Can Help: Perks of a Smart Thermostat

A great way to regulate your home’s HVAC system while away from home is using a smart thermostat. This special type of programmable thermostat uses intelligent software to track your usual comfort habits. It applies these preferences and makes automatic corrections to the schedule for maximum energy efficiency. And with Wi-Fi integration, you can remotely control your HVAC system using a smartphone or tablet.

Smart thermostats are loaded with features to help you save even more. For instance, certain models can observe electricity prices to boost heating or cooling when prices are lower. They can also work with high-efficiency, variable-speed equipment to fine-tune how long your HVAC system needs to run. It’s the optimal tool to streamline how you control your comfort system. If you’re planning on investing in a smart thermostat, there are different ways you can bring down your costs, essentially 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 cause any trouble while you’re away from home.