What to Set Your Thermostat to When Away

October 18, 2022

Whether it’s a tropical vacation or an extended trip for work, leaving home means making preparations for your HVAC system. You can't use it if you’re away, so you can adjust the temperature as necessary to conserve your energy use. Just the same, you don’t want to just turn it off for the entire time you're gone.

In general, it’s best to leave your HVAC system on and just make adjustments depending on whether it's winter or summer. That way you can reduce energy costs without having to worry about returning to an uncomfortable home. We’ll walk you through why you should avoid turning your HVAC system off as well as the ideal thermostat settings for different times of year.

Here’s Why You Avoid Leaving Your Thermostat on Hold

While you could be tempted to shut your HVAC system down before a trip, this could end up leading to costly problems by the time you get back. This is notably true in case the weather will be severely hot or cold while you’re gone.

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

And over the winter, leaving the furnace off will sometimes lead to pipes icing over or even bursting. It’s an awful feeling to come home from a nice trip only to come across extensive water damage close to a broken pipe.

Best Thermostat Settings While at Work

You can adjust the temperature even if you’re coming and going to work. Since 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. Generally, it’s suggested to adjust the thermostat by 5 degrees or so. This means that if you prefer a comfortable 72 degrees, try 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 reported by the Department of Energy, you could save nearly 10% on your HVAC expenses by increasing the adjustment to 7-10 degrees.

Best Thermostat Settings While on Vacation in Summer

If you leave for a longer trip in the hottest part of summer, you can make bigger adjustments. This prevents wasting energy while still defending your home from the problems that come with leaving it without air conditioning. Something like 5 degrees is recommended for shorter trips while closer to 10 degrees is worthwhile if you’ll be gone for 2 weeks or longer. If you prefer keeping the house at 72 in the summer, 78-82 can offer great results.

Recommended Thermostat Settings While on Vacation in Winter

To try and find the best thermostat setting for a winter getaway, just lower the temperature by the same amount you would increase it in summer. 68 is a frequent winter thermostat setting, so lowering it to 63-58 will protect your plumbing 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 by investing in a smart thermostat. This advanced type of programmable thermostat utilizes intelligent software to monitor your preferred comfort habits. It learns these preferences and makes automatic changes to the schedule for maximum energy efficiency. And with Wi-Fi compatibility, you can remotely adjust your heating and cooling with a mobile device or tablet.

Smart thermostats are packed with features to help you save energy and lower costs. For example, specific models can monitor electricity prices to boost heating or cooling when prices are lower. They can be used with high-efficiency, variable-speed equipment to optimize how long your HVAC system should run. It’s the perfect tool to streamline how you control your comfort system. If you’re thinking about investing in a smart thermostat, there are multiple ways you can lower your costs, in essence getting a smart thermostat for free. The next time you leave for vacation, you can appreciate true peace of mind that your HVAC system won’t stir up any trouble while you’re gone.