What to Set Your Thermostat to When Away

October 18, 2022

Between a much-needed vacation or a lengthy trip for work, taking a trip means making plans for your home comfort system. You don't need it if you’re not home, so you can adjust it as needed to minimize your energy use. Just the same, you don’t want to just leave it off for the entire time you're gone.

For the most part, it’s best to leave your HVAC system going and adjust the temperature depending on the time of year. That way you can reduce energy costs without stressing about getting back 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 different times of year.

Here’s Why You Shouldn’t Leave Your Thermostat on Hold

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

For example, switching the HVAC system down in the summer can produce very high humidity. Not only will your home feel gross when you come back, but it may have also encouraged mold/mildew growth or pest infestations.

And in the winter, not using the furnace could lead to pipes freezing or even bursting. It’s exhausting to return home from a nice trip only to find substantial water damage close to a broken pipe.

Ideal Thermostat Settings While at Work

You can optimize the temperature even if you’re coming and going to work. Because you’re away for 8 hours or more, it doesn’t make sense to keep an empty home heated or cooled as if you were there. In general, it’s suggested to raise the thermostat by 5 degrees or so. This 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 try further adjustments to the temperature. According to the Department of Energy, you might save around 10% on your HVAC spending by increasing the adjustment to 7-10 degrees.

Best Thermostat Settings While on a Trip in Summer

If you're on a lengthier trip in the hottest part of summer, you can make bigger adjustments. This ensures you don’t waste energy while still protecting your home from the hassles that come with leaving it uncooled. Around 5 degrees is appropriate for brief trips while a larger adjustment of 10 degrees is worthwhile if you’ll be away from home for 2 weeks or longer. If you like keeping the house at 72 in the summer, 78-82 should offer beneficial results.

Best Thermostat Settings While on Vacation in Winter

To figure out the ideal 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 restricting how often your furnace runs.

A Smart Thermostat Can Help: Perks of a Smart Thermostat

A great way to regulate your home’s HVAC system while out of the house is using a smart thermostat. This innovative type of programmable thermostat utilizes intelligent software to understand your typical comfort habits. It gradually understands these preferences and makes automatic corrections to the schedule for maximum energy efficiency. And with Wi-Fi integration, you can remotely adjust your HVAC system using a smartphone or tablet.

Smart thermostats are loaded with features to help you save energy and lower costs. For example, some models can observe electricity prices to bolster heating or cooling when prices are lower. They are compatible with high-efficiency, variable-speed equipment to refine how long your HVAC system has to run. It’s the ideal tool to simplify how you control your comfort system. If you’re thinking about investing in a smart thermostat, there are different ways you can reduce your costs, essentially getting a smart thermostat for free. The next time you are away from home, you can enjoy true peace of mind that your HVAC system won’t cause any trouble while you’re away from home.