What to Set Your Thermostat to When Away

October 18, 2022

Whether it’s a much-needed vacation or an extended trip for work, leaving home means making plans for your heating and cooling system. You don't need it as long as you’re on a trip, so you can make adjustments as appropriate to minimize your energy use. Simultaneously, you shouldn't just shut it down for the entire time you're out of the house.

In general, it’s better to leave your HVAC system running and just raise or lower depending on whether it's winter or summer. That way you can reduce energy costs without stressing about returning to an uncomfortable home. We’ll walk you through why you should leave your HVAC system on as well as the ideal thermostat settings for summer and winter.

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

While you may be wanting to leave your HVAC system off before a trip, this can end up causing annoying problems by the time you get back. This is notably true when the weather will be severely hot or cold while you’re away from home.

For example, switching the HVAC system down in the summer will sometimes cause very high humidity. Not only will your home feel gross when you have returned, but it could have also encouraged mold/mildew growth or pest infestations.

And in the winter, leaving the furnace off might lead to pipes icing over or even bursting. It’s an awful feeling to return home from a long trip only to find extensive water damage near a broken pipe.

Ideal Thermostat Settings While at Work

You can make temperature adjustments even as you come and go to work. Because you’re not home for about 8 hours or longer, it doesn’t seem sensible to keep an empty home the same temperature as when you're home. Generally, it’s encouraged to adjust the thermostat by 5 degrees or so. That means that if you prefer a comfortable 72 degrees, think about adjusting it to 76-77 while you’re out.

But you can save even more if you're open to further adjusting the temperature. As stated by the Department of Energy, you could save around 10% on your HVAC spending by making an adjustment of 7-10 degrees.

Energy-Efficient Thermostat Settings While on Vacation in Summer

If you leave for a lengthier trip in the heart of summer, you can make larger adjustments. This prevents wasting energy while still defending your home from the issues that come with leaving it uncooled. About 5 degrees is appropriate for brief trips while around 10 degrees is ideal if you’ll be out of town for 2 weeks or more. If you like keeping the house at 72 in the summer, 78-82 can offer beneficial results.

Recommended Thermostat Settings While On a Trip in Winter

To try and find the ideal thermostat setting for a winter trip, consider lowering the temperature by the same amount you would raise it in summer. 68 is a frequent winter thermostat setting, so turning it down to 63-58 will keep your plumbing safe while minimizing how long 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 is using a smart thermostat. This innovative type of programmable thermostat uses intelligent software to monitor your usual comfort habits. It gradually understands these preferences and makes automatic corrections to the schedule for maximum energy efficiency. And with Wi-Fi compatibility, you can remotely access your HVAC system with a smartphone or tablet.

Smart thermostats are loaded with features to help you save on your energy bill. For instance, specific models can monitor 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 needs to run. It’s the optimal tool to enhance how you use your comfort system. If you’re thinking about 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 appreciate true peace of mind that your HVAC system won’t cause any trouble while you’re away from home.