How Should I Set My Thermostat for When I’m At Work?

For many hours a day you’re off at work, or possibly at school. Yet your HVAC system continues to run, with nobody home. This uses up a good deal of energy and feels like wasting money. You can significantly reduce this cost by setting the thermostat up or down before you go to work and resetting it back to your favored temperature when you return home. But how much should the thermostat be adjusted? 

Here’s what the Department of Energy suggests about thermostat adjustments: 

You can save up to 10% a year on heating and cooling by simply turning your thermostat down 7°-10°F for eight hours a day from its usual setting. The percentage of savings from setback is better for buildings in more temperate climates than for those in more severe climates. 

The tinier the variation between the indoor and outdoor temperatures, the lower your complete cooling bill can be. You can easily save energy through the winter by adjusting the thermostat to something like 68°F while you’re awake and turning it down while you’re asleep or away from home. During the summer, you can use the same plan with central air conditioning by having your house warmer than normal when you are at work and adjusting the thermostat to a setting as high as you can manage comfortably when you return and want cooling and to provide humidity control if necessary. 

You might have been advised that these kinds of adjustments are not worth the effort because your heating and cooling has to work extra hard to return to your desired temperature, using up your savings, but the energy department puts that notion to rest, namely for heating: “A common misconception associated with thermostats is that a furnace works harder than normal to warm the space back to a comfortable temperature after the thermostat has been set back, resulting in little or no savings. In fact, as soon as your house drops below its normal temperature, it will lose energy to the surrounding environment more slowly.” 

Programmable and Smart Thermostats 

Despite the benefits of setting your thermostat every time you go to work, it’s not hard to overlook in the rush of getting ready and on your way. This is one perk of programmable and smart thermostats. You can direct your thermostat to automatically shift to a different temperature through your standard work hours. And with a smart thermostat, you can adjust the temperature (or the programming schedule) remotely. This is very helpful if you’ve neglected to adjust the setting before going on vacation. 

Don’t Forget the Pets 

If you have pets at home, think about their comfort as well. Cats and dogs with thick fur won’t be comfy with high temperatures. And pets with short fur might not be pleased with cold temperatures. The same is true of tropical birds, fish and reptiles. Since temperature tolerances vary widely by breed and species, look them up for your pets. 

More Benefits of Adjusting Your Thermostat for When You’re Away 

  • Carbon emissions – The more often you operate your heating and cooling, the more carbon emissions you generate. Saving energy minimizes air pollution and greenhouse gasses. 
  • HVAC Longevity – Demanding too much from your heating and cooling can diminish its life span and cause more maintenance to be required. It also means the air filter can clog up sooner, making your indoor air supply worse. 

If you have any questions about your air conditioner settings, or if you need HVAC repair or maintenance, call the specialists at Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing, a big company with local heart. We’re enthusiastic about making the world a comfy place to live. Whether we’re warming, cooling or making the water flow, we have a lot of pride in keeping our customers and communities comfy and content. 

Experts — it’s in our name and central to our work. We strive to help each technician or installer develop into a skilled craftsman. We hire the best and provide training, opportunities and support, so our teams can learn, improve and be ready for any kind of challenge they’re faced with. 

Our total business strength and people make us special. With more than 4,000 team members working together, we can deliver and innovate more effectively than the rest of the industry. Our enthusiastic, family-friendly attitude powers our teamwork and helps us get the job done in a timely manner, and right — the first time. 

Our combination of company size and personal expertise means we can offer more with the next great idea … which may come from anywhere and anyone. We are reinvigorating the industry by utilizing each team member’s greatest ideas. That means our teams and customers can rest assured we’re moving, innovating, delivering, and in it for the long run, through the busiest times and beyond. 

We are Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing! Delivering strength, knowledge and support over every season. 

Savings For You

See All Offers Here >


  • Save $50 on a Paid Service
  • Written 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
  • Plus, ask how to save an additional 15% and waive your trip charge!


  • Upgrade to Worry-Free Comfort with the Advantage Program and make NO payments for 30 days!

© 2024 Service Experts, Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning, and the Service Experts logo and design are registered trademarks of Service Experts LLC and used under license by SE Canada Inc. All Rights Reserved. *Not applicable to the Advantage Program. See your signed Advantage Program Agreement for full details and exclusions. 100% Satisfaction Guarantee is subject to certain restrictions and limitations as set forth in the applicable Terms and Conditions.

Chat with a Service Experts Professional