What to Set Your Thermostat to When Away

October 18, 2022

From a much-needed vacation or a long trip for work, traveling means making plans for your home comfort system. You don't need it as long as you’re away, so you can make adjustments as needed to limit your energy use. At the same time, you shouldn't just shut it down for the entire time you're gone.

In general, it’s ideal to leave your HVAC system running and just raise or lower depending on the season. That way you can lower energy costs without stressing about returning to an uncomfortable home. We’ll review why you should avoid turning your HVAC system off as well as the best thermostat settings for summer and winter.

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

While you could be wanting to leave your HVAC system off before a trip, this will sometimes end up stirring up annoying problems by the time you return. This is particularly true when the weather will be severely hot or cold while you’re gone.

For example, turning the HVAC system down during the summer can lead to very high humidity. Not only will your home feel gross when you have returned, 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 up or even bursting. It’s an awful feeling to come home from a long trip only to find extensive water damage close to a broken pipe.

Best 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 around 8 hours or so, it doesn’t help your monthly energy bill to keep an empty home at the same temperature you’d usually have. As a general rule, it’s recommended to turn up the thermostat by 5 degrees or so. This means that if you prefer a comfortable 72 degrees, think about adjusting it to 76-77 while you’re gone.

But you may save even more if you’re willing to further adjust the temperature. As stated by the Department of Energy, you could save nearly 10% on your HVAC spending by making an adjustment of 7-10 degrees.

Best Thermostat Settings While Away from Home in Summer

If you’re leaving for a longer trip in the hottest part of summer, you can make more significant adjustments. This helps you avoid using too much energy while still protecting your home from the hassles that come with leaving it without air conditioning. Something like 5 degrees is appropriate for brief trips while around 10 degrees is worthwhile if you’ll be out of town for 2 weeks or more. If you enjoy keeping the house at 72 in the summer, 78-82 will offer the best results.

Ideal Thermostat Settings While on Vacation in Winter

To figure out the ideal thermostat setting for a winter getaway, just lower the temperature by the same amount you would raise it in summer. 68 is a common winter thermostat setting, so turning it down 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

One of the best ways to manage your home’s HVAC system while away from home is with a smart thermostat. This special type of programmable thermostat uses intelligent software to track your typical comfort habits. It gradually understands these preferences and makes automatic changes to the schedule for maximum energy efficiency. And with Wi-Fi integration, you can remotely access your HVAC system from a smartphone or tablet.

Smart thermostats are packed with features to help you save energy and lower costs. To provide an example, certain models can track electricity prices to bolster heating or cooling when prices are lower. They can also work with high-efficiency, variable-speed equipment to refine how long your HVAC system needs to run. It’s the optimal tool to enhance how you control your comfort system. If you’re considering investing in a smart thermostat, there are a variety of ways you can reduce your costs, effectively getting a smart thermostat for free. The next time you leave for vacation, you can enjoy true peace of mind that your HVAC system won’t cause any trouble while you’re away from home.