What temperature should you set your air conditioner when away?

With many office environments now phasing out work-from-home scenarios, homeowners are getting used to being away from home once again. A small yet important cost-savings step is lurking in the background during all of this. We’re talking about your HVAC system. Because we all got used to manually controlling our HVAC systems during the day, using timers and smart thermostat settings is something that may slip our collective minds. So what temperature should you set your air conditioner when away?

Let’s unpack this with a couple of scenarios you’ll experience throughout the year.

Quick trips to the grocery store

If you will be gone for less than four hours, such as on a trip to the mall or grocery store, don’t touch your thermostat. The energy savings for such a short period of time will be more than offset by the need to run your AC longer when you return.

In other words, your home can heat up fast. It takes longer to cool off and wastes more energy than simply leaving it set at your preferred temperature during that short trip away.

Cool mornings, hot afternoons, and evenings

Living near Salt Lake City has its perks. One of them, however, is not the variable temperatures we experience throughout the warmer summer months. For example, an hourly forecast can have our region in the mid-70s overnight, 80 when you leave for home, and then the mid 90s by the time you get home from work. What temperature should you set your air conditioner when away in this scenario?

A good rule of thumb is to keep it within five degrees of your normally preferred temperature. What temperature you set your air conditioner to when away depends on what temperature you set it to when home.

So, if you like your home to be around 73 degrees, you could set it to 77 to 78 when you leave. However, how will it drop back to 73 before you get home?

With a programmable thermostat using geofencing and built-in timing. Together, these two features can make sure your home isn’t too cold when you’re gone and too warm when you return home.

A week-long summer vacation

When you’re gone during the summertime, you don’t need to keep your air conditioning unit set as cold as you would when you’re home. There are a couple of things to consider, however, when deciding on your away temperature.

What temperature do you normally set your house to?

Some older homes have to keep it colder downstairs to offset the rising heat upstairs. Because of that, they may set their homes to 70 to 73 degrees so that it stays in the mid to upper 70s upstairs. So, for vacation, we wouldn’t recommend setting it much higher than 75…

…unless you have a programmable thermostat, that is. In that scenario, you could keep it closer to 78-80 as long as you set it to start cooling 24 hours before returning home. That should give enough time for your upstairs bedrooms to cool off.

Utah’s number 1 HVAC company is on your side

We know that it can be challenging to figure out the right summertime HVAC schedule. If you would like to talk to a member of our team about your air conditioning situation, contact us to arrange an appointment either via phone, email, or through our website. We’ll follow up ASAP with a time to go over your needs and how we can help.

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