There are many reasons why programmable thermostats are a good idea. For example, they can save you almost $200 a year in energy costs when used properly. But in addition to energy savings, they can be helpful for scheduling the temperatures you want to maintain at home when you’re away on vacation.
Setting temperatures when you’re away
When you’re planning to be away from home for an extended period, you can set the “hold” control to a constant temperature that will remain at an energy saving level. That level will depend on a few considerations.
Not too hot, not too cold
During hot summer months, you can raise the air conditioning to a minimum cooling level. This will keep the house pretty warm, although you don’t want to let the temperature be too warm because it can negatively affect the interior.
A reasonably high level of air conditioning is necessary for several reasons:
- It will guard your house against things like mold and mildew, which thrive in extreme heat.
- It prevents extreme heat from warping wood furniture, cabinets, or wood flooring.
- It keeps the food in your pantry from spoiling.
- It keeps your refrigerator/freezer from the stress of constant running.
- It can protect your sensitive electronic equipment.
Conversely, if you’re away during cold months, you don’t want to pay to heat space you’re not using, but you don’t want to set the temperature so low that you run the risk of burst pipes should the temperatures outside go below freezing while you’re away.
You can help your heating and cooling equipment do its job most efficiently by making sure all exterior windows and doors are shut tight before you leave. However, leave all interior doors open, this will allow for good airflow, which also helps with energy efficiency.
Determining the right temperature for an empty house
It’s generally recommended that you program a steady temperature of around five degrees warmer than you usually set it during summer months and five degrees lower than you usually set it for cooler months. That can vary, especially during cold weather, but keep it well above freezing in any case.
With a programmable thermostat, you can have the added benefit of being able to check the temperature in your home remotely. If there’s an unexpected change in the weather at home while you’re away, you can make some adjustments. It’s also a great way to prepare for your homecoming by adjusting the temperature shortly before you return so it will be comfortable upon your arrival.