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How to Set Your Thermostat When Traveling

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At The HVAC Cowboys, we frequently address questions about managing home heating in Austin, especially when it comes to travel. A common query is what temperature to set the thermostat and whether it’s okay to turn off the heater when leaving town. Here’s a comprehensive guide to smart thermostat management for taking vacation in the winter time. 

Your Thermostat and Furnace Work Together

Your home’s heating system is more complex than a simple on/off mechanism like a light switch. It’s regulated by your thermostat, which directs the furnace to cycle on and off to maintain a consistent temperature. When the temperature inside drops lower than how you’ve set it, the furnace cycles on to bring the inside temperature back up. 

The Dangers of Turning Off Your Furnace

Completely shutting down your furnace in the winter can lead to significant issues like frozen pipes, which may burst and cause water damage. Instead, we advise lowering the thermostat setting. This strategy prevents the risks associated with a complete shutdown while also conserving energy. 

Although it helps to check the weather report before leaving town, keep in mind that Austin weather in the winter is very unpredictable. You may see night time temperatures above freezing when you leave town, but snap cold fronts and ice storms can catch you by surprise. 

Ideal Temperature Settings for Absences

Here are our recommendations for thermostat settings:

  • Normal Daytime Home Use: Set at 68°F during active hours.
  • Nighttime Sleeping: Lower by 10 to 12°F to save up to 10% annually on heating, as per ENERGY STAR® guidelines.
  • Winter Vacations When You’re Away: Keep it around 55°F to prevent freezing and reduce energy use. If you have pets at home, consider a setting near 63°F to ensure their comfort.

Benefits of Programmable Thermostats

We recommend a programmable thermostat for convenience and efficiency. These devices can be set to warm your home before you return or wake up, offering both comfort and energy savings. With Smart Thermostats you can even use your smartphone to check on the inside temperature of your home and control it while you’re out of town. 

For optimal performance, install programmable thermostats on interior walls away from direct sunlight and drafts. Unsure about the best model or installation spot? The HVAC Cowboys can provide expert advice and assistance.

Partner with The HVAC Cowboys for Efficient Heating

Our team at The HVAC Cowboys is committed to helping you optimize your heating system in Austin, Texas. From routine maintenance to specialized advice on thermostat settings and programmable thermostat installations, we’re your go-to experts. Contact us for professional HVAC services tailored to your needs and ensure a comfortable, energy-efficient home year-round.