What to Set Your Thermostat to When Away

October 18, 2022

Whether it’s a relaxing vacation or an extended trip for work, traveling means making plans for your home comfort system. You can't use it while you’re away, so you can adjust it as appropriate to limit your energy use. At the same time, you shouldn't just leave it off for the entire time you're gone.

Instead, it’s better to leave your HVAC system running and adjust the temperature depending on the season. That way you can lower energy costs without having to worry about coming back to an uncomfortable home. We’ll explain why you shouldn’t turn your HVAC system off as well as the ideal thermostat settings for summer and winter.

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

While you could be inclined to leave your HVAC system off before a trip, this could end up causing big problems by the time you come back. This is particularly true when the weather will be severely hot or cold while you’re out of town.

For instance, turning the HVAC system down during the summer could lead to very high humidity. Not only will your home feel gross when you have returned, but it might have also invited mold/mildew growth or pest infestations.

And in the winter, not using the furnace might lead to pipes freezing or even bursting. It’s an awful feeling to return home from a vacation only to find extensive 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. Since you’re out of the house for 8 hours or more, 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, try increasing it to 76-77 while you’re gone.

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

Ideal Thermostat Settings While on Vacation in Summer

If you’re leaving for an extended trip in the heart of summer, you can make more significant adjustments. This prevents wasting energy while still safeguarding your home from the issues that come with leaving it uncooled. About 5 degrees is suitable for brief trips while around 10 degrees is best if you’ll be away from home for 2 weeks or more. If you prefer keeping the house at 72 in the summer, 78-82 should offer beneficial results.

Ideal Thermostat Settings While Away from Home in Winter

To determine the ideal thermostat setting for a winter getaway, 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 protect your plumbing while limiting how often your furnace runs.

A Smart Thermostat Can Help: Advantages of a Smart Thermostat

An ideal strategy to manage your home’s HVAC system while out of the house is by investing in a smart thermostat. This advanced type of programmable thermostat employs intelligent software to understand your typical comfort habits. It learns these preferences and makes automatic adjustments to the schedule for better energy efficiency. And with Wi-Fi integration, you can remotely control your heating and cooling from a smartphone or tablet.

Smart thermostats are loaded with features to help you save energy and lower costs. For example, specific models can track electricity prices to increase heating or cooling when prices are lower. They are compatible 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 different ways you can lower 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 gone.