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 if you’re on a trip, so you can adjust it as needed 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 make adjustments depending on whether it's winter or summer. That way you can lower energy costs without stressing about coming back to an uncomfortable home. We’ll review why you should avoid turning 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 turn your HVAC system off before a trip, this will sometimes end up causing costly problems by the time you get back. This is especially true when the weather will be severely hot or cold while you’re away from home.

For instance, shutting the HVAC system off during the summer will sometimes lead to very high humidity. Not only will your home feel like a swamp when you come back, but it might have also stimulated mold/mildew growth or pest infestations.

And during the winter, letting your house get cold could lead to pipes freezing or even bursting. It’s an awful feeling to get home from a long trip only to discover substantial water damage near a broken pipe.

Best Thermostat Settings While at Work

You can optimize the temperature even if you’re coming and going to work. Considering you’re out of the house for 8 hours or more, it doesn’t make sense 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 more. This means that if you prefer a comfortable 72 degrees, try raising it to 76-77 while you’re at work.

But you may save even more if you try further adjustments to the temperature. As stated by the Department of Energy, you might save nearly 10% on your HVAC costs by increasing the adjustment to 7-10 degrees.

Ideal Thermostat Settings While Away from Home in Summer

If you're on a longer trip in the heart of summer, you can make larger adjustments. This helps you avoid using too much energy while still defending your home from the issues that come with leaving it uncooled. Around 5 degrees is suitable for shorter trips while a larger adjustment of 10 degrees is worthwhile if you’ll be gone for 2 weeks or longer. If you enjoy keeping the house at 72 in the summer, 78-82 can offer beneficial results.

Best Thermostat Settings While On a Trip in Winter

To figure out the most energy-efficient thermostat setting for a winter vacation, consider lowering the temperature by the same amount you would adjust it in summer. 68 is a common winter thermostat setting, so lowering it to 63-58 will keep your plumbing safe while minimizing how frequently your furnace runs.

A Smart Thermostat Can Help: Perks of a Smart Thermostat

A great way to optimize your home’s HVAC system while out of the house is by investing in a smart thermostat. This advanced type of programmable thermostat utilizes intelligent software to understand your typical comfort habits. It applies these preferences and makes automatic adjustments to the schedule for maximum energy efficiency. And with Wi-Fi integration, you can remotely control your heating and cooling with a mobile device or tablet.

Smart thermostats are packed with features to help you save energy and lower costs. To provide an example, some models can track electricity prices to bolster heating or cooling when prices are more affordable. They can be used with high-efficiency, variable-speed equipment to refine how long your HVAC system should run. It’s the ideal tool to streamline how you control your comfort system. If you’re planning on investing in a smart thermostat, there are a variety of ways you can bring down your costs, effectively getting a smart thermostat for free. The next time you leave for vacation, you can receive true peace of mind that your HVAC system won’t stir up any trouble while you’re gone.