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The Best AC Thermostat Setting for Vacant House

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Summer is the traditional time of year to take a vacation, leaving behind an empty house. What’s the best temperature setting for a vacant home?

Set the temperature too high and you risk mold and mildew growth along with wood furniture damage. Too low of a setting and you’re needlessly cooling an empty house. What’s the best solution?

Humidity damage usually occurs above 90 degrees. If you have a traditional thermostat, leave it set between 80 – 85 degrees. This keeps a check on the utility bill while avoiding damage.

The very best solution is switching to a programmable thermostat, which automatically adjust your home’s temperature settings, allowing you to save energy while you’re away or sleeping.

With a programmable thermostat, the best pattern to follow for a vacant house is 85 degrees during daylight hours and 71 degrees from 3 a.m. – 5 a.m. The cooler temperature in the early morning removes moisture and cuts down on how often it will need to run during the heat of the day. Relative humidity will drop or remain stable as the temperature goes up.

We have learned from energy auditing experiences that programmable thermostats are your best solution for these reasons:
● More convenient and accurate than manual thermostats and improve your home’s comfort
● Contain no mercury
● Save energy and save money on utility bills — when used properly, about $150 a year
● Better for the environment, since using less energy helps reduce greenhouse gas emissions associated with energy production

All the advantages of a programmable thermostat also make it a logical “green choice” for your home. Plus, you program it once and need never get caught forgetting to change a setting.

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Whether at home or away, here are some old fashioned tips to help out with your AC bills:
● Ceiling fans rotating clockwise
● Shades or blinds drawn down against direct sunlight
● Awnings or deep roof eaves atop windows facing south and west
● Trees and tall shrubs to provide shade on south and west sides
● Roof vents remove accumulated heat from the attic

To cut down on the confusion of so many systems, remote control home automation systems can help you control ceiling fans, blinds and thermostat settings. You have so many great options for controlling heat without raising your cooling bills, and a Mosby Home Energy Audit is the smart place to start. Learn more about the energy audit process here. To begin being energy efficient and comfortable in your home, call the Mosby office at 314.909.1800 or contact them here.

  • Juanita

    What temperature should a house be set on for the months of November through March for an unoccupied furnished home in Northwest Washington state. Thank you for your reply.

    • I would recommend consulting with a local professional to see if there are any specific needs that are recommended in your area. Humidity is a major concern during cold months as well as temperature. I would check your HVAC system to make sure there is a humidifier on the unit and take appropriate steps to make sure water supply to the unit is maintained if you turn the water off to the building. Low humidity conditions are very problematic to furniture and building materials. It can cause cracking and splitting if allowed to get below 35% for extended periods.

      If there is a programmable thermostat I would recommend trying to set it so it will bring the temperature up to 65 or 70 degrees once a week or so to help the humidifier add moisture to the home. Again, Check with your local experts for further advice for your area. Winters in the Northwest are somewhat different than here in Missouri.

  • Rick D

    Worst thermostat is and energy efficient one for a vacant building.
    I strongly do not recommend it.
    The Mercury thermostat is far more reliable.
    If Batteries die it will go to a no heat situation and pipes will burst.

    Mercury is for cottages, tenants apartments and etc….. and all places especially where in your case no one will hear or respond to a low battery indicator alarm.

    Mercury = no batteries or problems related to batteries, dead or burst ones in batter chambers