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What to Set Your Thermostat to When Away

October 18, 2022

Between a tropical vacation or an extended trip for work, traveling means making preparations for your heating and cooling system. You can't use it as long as you’re away, so you can adjust the temperature as needed to minimize your energy use. Simultaneously, you shouldn't just shut it down for the entire time you're gone.

For the most part, it’s better to leave your HVAC system running and adjust the temperature depending on whether it's winter or summer. That way you can reduce energy costs without worrying about coming back to an uncomfortable home. We’ll review why you should leave your HVAC system on as well as the ideal thermostat settings for different times of year.

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

While you could be wanting to leave your HVAC system off before a trip, this could end up stirring up annoying problems by the time you get back. This is especially true when the weather will be severely hot or cold while you’re out of town.

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

And during the winter, letting your house get cold can lead to pipes icing over or even bursting. It’s an awful feeling to get home from a nice trip only to find considerable water damage nearby a broken pipe.

Ideal Thermostat Settings While at Work

You can optimize the temperature even if you’re coming and going to work. Considering you’re away for about 8 hours or longer, it doesn’t make sense to keep an empty home heated or cooled as if you were there. 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. As stated by the Department of Energy, you may save nearly 10% on your HVAC costs by increasing the adjustment to 7-10 degrees.

Ideal Thermostat Settings While on a Trip in Summer

If you’re leaving for a longer trip in the heart of summer, you can make more significant adjustments. This helps you avoid using too much energy while still safeguarding your home from the hassles that come with leaving it uncooled. Something like 5 degrees is appropriate for short trips while a larger adjustment of 10 degrees is best if you’ll be gone for 2 weeks or more. If you prefer keeping the house at 72 in the summer, 78-82 should offer great results.

Ideal Thermostat Settings While On a Trip in Winter

To figure out the most energy-efficient thermostat setting for a winter trip, simply lower it 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 prevent ice from forming on pipes while restricting how frequently your furnace runs.

A Smart Thermostat Can Help: Perks of a Smart Thermostat

An ideal strategy to regulate your home’s HVAC system while away is by investing in a smart thermostat. This innovative type of programmable thermostat utilizes intelligent software to monitor your preferred comfort habits. It learns these preferences and makes automatic changes to the schedule for higher energy efficiency. And with Wi-Fi compatibility, you can remotely access your HVAC system using a smartphone or tablet.

Smart thermostats are loaded with features to help you save even more. To provide an example, some models can track electricity prices to increase heating or cooling when prices are lower. They are compatible with high-efficiency, variable-speed equipment to fine-tune how long your HVAC system should run. It’s the optimal tool to streamline how you control your comfort system. If you’re considering investing in a smart thermostat, there are a variety of ways you can lower your costs, in essence 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 stir up any trouble while you’re away.