What to Set Your Thermostat to When Away

October 18, 2022

Whether it’s a tropical vacation or an extended trip for work, taking a trip means making preparations for your HVAC system. You won’t be using it while you’re on a trip, so you can adjust the temperature as appropriate to conserve your energy use. Simultaneously, you shouldn't just turn it off for the entire duration of your trip.

For the most part, it’s best to leave your HVAC system on and just raise or lower depending on the season. That way you can reduce 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 summer and winter.

Here’s Why You Shouldn’t Leave Your Thermostat on Hold

While you could be wanting to shut your HVAC system down before a trip, this can end up stirring up big 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 instance, shutting the HVAC system off in the summer will sometimes cause very high humidity. Not only will your home feel muggy and uncomfortable when you return, but it may have also stimulated mold/mildew growth or pest infestations.

And during the winter, leaving the furnace off will sometimes lead to pipes freezing or even bursting. It’s exhausting to return home from a vacation only to discover extensive water damage near a broken pipe.

Energy-Efficient Thermostat Settings While at Work

You can optimize the temperature even as you come and go to work. Because you’re away 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 adjusting it to 76-77 while you’re out.

But you could save even more if you're open to further adjusting the temperature. According to the Department of Energy, you may save about 10% on your HVAC costs by raising the temperature by about 7-10 degrees.

Best Thermostat Settings While Away from Home in Summer

If you leave for a longer trip in the middle of summer, you can make more significant adjustments. This helps you avoid using too much energy while still safeguarding your home from the hassles that come with leaving it uncooled. About 5 degrees is appropriate for shorter trips while a larger adjustment of 10 degrees is ideal if you’ll be away from home for 2 weeks or more. If you like keeping the house at 72 in the summer, 78-82 can offer beneficial results.

Best Thermostat Settings While On a Trip in Winter

To try and find the most energy-efficient thermostat setting for a winter getaway, simply lower it by the same amount you would raise 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 long your furnace runs.

A Smart Thermostat Can Help: Advantages of a Smart Thermostat

An ideal strategy to regulate your home’s HVAC system while away is using a smart thermostat. This special type of programmable thermostat uses intelligent software to monitor your usual comfort habits. It applies these preferences and makes automatic corrections to the schedule for higher energy efficiency. And with Wi-Fi compatibility, you can remotely access your heating and cooling with a smartphone or tablet.

Smart thermostats are packed with features to help you save on your energy bill. For example, some models can track electricity prices to bolster heating or cooling when prices are more affordable. They can also work with high-efficiency, variable-speed equipment to optimize how long your HVAC system has to run. It’s the ideal tool to streamline how you control your comfort system. If you’re thinking about investing in a smart thermostat, there are a variety of ways you can bring down 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.