What to Set Your Thermostat to When Away

October 18, 2022

Whether it’s a relaxing vacation or an extended trip for work, taking a trip means making plans for your HVAC system. You don't need it if you’re on a trip, so you can adjust the temperature as appropriate to conserve your energy use. Just the same, you shouldn't just shut it down for the entire duration of your trip.

Instead, it’s ideal to leave your HVAC system going and just raise or lower depending on the time of year. That way you can lower energy costs without having to worry 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 various times of year.

Here’s Why You Avoid Leaving Your Thermostat on Hold

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

For instance, shutting the HVAC system down in the summer will sometimes lead to very high humidity. Not only will your home feel muggy and uncomfortable when you have returned, but it may have also invited mold/mildew growth or pest infestations.

And in the winter, leaving the furnace off can lead to pipes icing over or even bursting. It’s exhausting to come home from a nice trip only to find substantial water damage nearby a broken pipe.

Ideal Thermostat Settings While at Work

You can adjust the temperature even as you come and go to work. Since you’re away for about 8 hours or longer, it doesn’t make sense to keep an empty home at the same temperature you’d usually have. Generally, it’s recommended to turn up the thermostat by 5 degrees or more. Meaning that if you prefer a comfortable 72 degrees, consider adjusting it to 76-77 while you’re at work.

But you could save even more if you try further adjustments to the temperature. According to the Department of Energy, you could save about 10% on your HVAC spending by increasing the adjustment to 7-10 degrees.

Best Thermostat Settings While Away from Home in Summer

If you’re leaving for a lengthier trip in the heart of summer, you can make bigger adjustments. This ensures you don’t waste energy while still defending your home from the hassles that come with leaving it un-air conditioned. Something like 5 degrees is suitable 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 prefer keeping the house at 72 in the summer, 78-82 should offer great results.

Ideal Thermostat Settings While Away from Home in Winter

To figure out the best thermostat setting for a winter trip, simply lower it by the same amount you would increase it in summer. 68 is a common winter thermostat setting, so turning it down to 63-58 will prevent ice from forming on pipes while minimizing how long your furnace runs.

A Smart Thermostat Can Help: Advantages of a Smart Thermostat

One of the best ways to regulate your home’s HVAC system while away is by investing in a smart thermostat. This innovative type of programmable thermostat uses intelligent software to monitor your typical comfort habits. It gradually understands these preferences and makes automatic corrections to the schedule for better energy efficiency. And with Wi-Fi compatibility, you can remotely adjust your HVAC system with a mobile device or tablet.

Smart thermostats are loaded with features to help you save on your energy bill. For example, some models can track electricity prices to increase 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 has to run. It’s the perfect tool to streamline how you control your comfort system. If you’re planning on 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 receive true peace of mind that your HVAC system won’t cause any trouble while you’re away.