What to Set Your Thermostat to When Away

October 18, 2022

Between a much-needed vacation or a lengthy trip for work, leaving home means making plans for your HVAC system. You won’t be using it while you’re away, so you can adjust the temperature as appropriate to conserve your energy use. Just the same, you don’t want to just leave it off for the entire time you're gone.

In general, it’s ideal to leave your HVAC system going and just raise or lower depending on the time of year. That way you can reduce energy costs without worrying about getting back 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 various times of year.

Here’s Why You Avoid Leaving Your Thermostat on Hold

While you might be tempted to turn your HVAC system off before a trip, this could end up stirring up big problems by the time you return. This is notably true if the weather will be severely hot or cold while you’re away from home.

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

And in 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 vacation only to come across considerable water damage nearby a broken pipe.

Best Thermostat Settings While at Work

You can adjust the temperature even when you're just going to work. Because you’re out of the house 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 suggested to turn up the thermostat by 5 degrees or so. That means that if you prefer a comfortable 72 degrees, consider raising it to 76-77 while you’re out.

But you may save even more if you're open to further adjusting the temperature. As stated 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 Away from Home in Summer

If you're on 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 issues that come with leaving it without air conditioning. Around 5 degrees is appropriate for brief 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 should offer great results.

Ideal Thermostat Settings While on Vacation in Winter

To try and find the best thermostat setting for a winter getaway, simply lower it by the same amount you would adjust it in summer. 68 is a common winter thermostat setting, so adjusting to 63-58 will keep your plumbing safe while limiting how often your furnace operates.

A Smart Thermostat Can Help: Benefits of a Smart Thermostat

An ideal strategy to optimize your home’s HVAC system while out of the house is with a smart thermostat. This innovative type of programmable thermostat employs intelligent software to monitor your typical comfort habits. It learns these preferences and makes automatic changes to the schedule for better energy efficiency. And with Wi-Fi compatibility, you can remotely control your heating and cooling from a smart device like a phone or tablet.

Smart thermostats are stuffed with features to help you save even more. For instance, specific models can observe electricity prices to increase heating or cooling when prices are more affordable. They are compatible with high-efficiency, variable-speed equipment to fine-tune how long your HVAC system has to run. It’s the ideal tool to simplify how you use your comfort system. If you’re considering 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 leave for vacation, you can appreciate true peace of mind that your HVAC system won’t cause any trouble while you’re gone.