Between a relaxing vacation or a long trip for work, taking a trip means making plans for your heating and cooling system. You don't need it while you’re away, so you can adjust it as needed to minimize your energy use. Just the same, you shouldn't just turn it off for the entire time you're gone.
Instead, it’s better to leave your HVAC system running and just raise or lower depending on whether it's winter or summer. That way you can reduce energy costs without having to worry about returning to an uncomfortable home. We’ll walk you through why you shouldn’t turn your HVAC system off as well as the best thermostat settings for different times of year.
Here’s Why You Don't Leave Your Thermostat on Hold
While you may be tempted to shut your HVAC system down before a trip, this will sometimes end up leading to costly problems by the time you get back. This is notably true if the weather will be severely hot or cold while you’re gone.
For example, switching the HVAC system off during the summer could lead to very high humidity. Not only will your home feel muggy and uncomfortable when you return, but it might have also stimulated mold/mildew growth or pest infestations.
And in the winter, not using the furnace will sometimes lead to pipes freezing or even bursting. It’s exhausting to get home from a vacation only to find extensive water damage close to a broken pipe.
Best Thermostat Settings While at Work
You can make temperature adjustments even as you come and go to work. Since you’re not home for around 8 hours or so, it doesn’t make sense to keep an empty home at the same temperature you’d usually have. Generally, it’s recommended to adjust the thermostat by 5 degrees or so. That means that if you prefer a comfortable 72 degrees, consider adjusting it to 76-77 while you’re out.
But you could save even more if you're open to further adjusting the temperature. As stated by the Department of Energy, you might save around 10% on your HVAC costs by increasing the adjustment to 7-10 degrees.
Energy-Efficient Thermostat Settings While on a Trip in Summer
If you're on a lengthier trip in the middle of summer, you can make more significant adjustments. This ensures you don’t waste energy while still defending your home from the hassles that come with leaving it un-air conditioned. Around 5 degrees is suitable for brief trips while a larger adjustment of 10 degrees is ideal if you’ll be out of town for 2 weeks or longer. If you enjoy keeping the house at 72 in the summer, 78-82 will offer the best results.
Ideal Thermostat Settings While On a Trip in Winter
To figure out the most energy-efficient thermostat setting for a winter vacation, consider lowering the temperature by the same amount you would adjust it in summer. 68 is a popular winter thermostat setting, so lowering it to 63-58 will keep your plumbing safe while limiting how frequently your furnace runs.
A Smart Thermostat Can Help: Benefits of a Smart Thermostat
An ideal strategy to manage your home’s HVAC system while away from home is with a smart thermostat. This innovative type of programmable thermostat uses intelligent software to track your typical comfort habits. It gradually understands these preferences and makes automatic corrections to the schedule for higher energy efficiency. And with Wi-Fi integration, you can remotely adjust your heating and cooling with a smart device like a phone or tablet.
Smart thermostats are loaded with features to help you save energy and lower costs. For instance, specific models can observe electricity prices to bolster heating or cooling when prices are lowest. They can be used with high-efficiency, variable-speed equipment to refine how long your HVAC system has to run. It’s the ideal tool to streamline how you use your comfort system. If you’re considering investing in a smart thermostat, there are multiple ways you can lower your costs, effectively getting a smart thermostat for free. The next time you are away from home, you can receive true peace of mind that your HVAC system won’t stir up any trouble while you’re away from home.