Between a much-needed vacation or a long trip for work, leaving home means making preparations for your home comfort system. You don't need it if you’re away, so you can adjust the temperature as necessary to limit your energy use. At the same time, you don’t want to just leave it off for the entire duration of your trip.
Instead, it’s ideal to leave your HVAC system going and just raise or lower depending on the season. That way you can reduce energy costs without having to worry about getting back to an uncomfortable home. We’ll review why you should leave your HVAC system on as well as the ideal thermostat settings for different times of year.
Here’s Why You Don't Leave Your Thermostat on Hold
While you might be tempted to turn your HVAC system off before a trip, this will sometimes end up leading to big problems by the time you come back. This is particularly true in case the weather will be severely hot or cold while you’re gone.
For instance, turning the HVAC system down during the summer will sometimes produce very high humidity. Not only will your home feel like a swamp when you come back, but it may have also encouraged mold/mildew growth or pest infestations.
And during the winter, letting your house get cold might lead to pipes freezing up or even bursting. It’s never fun to get home from a nice trip only to discover extensive water damage near a broken pipe.
Best Thermostat Settings While at Work
You can optimize the temperature even when you're just going to work. Because you’re away for about 8 hours or longer, it doesn’t help your monthly energy bill to keep an empty home heated or cooled as if you were there. As a general rule, it’s recommended to turn up the thermostat by 5 degrees or more. This means that if you prefer a comfortable 72 degrees, consider raising it to 76-77 while you’re gone.
But you may save even more if you're open to further adjusting the temperature. As stated by the Department of Energy, you might save about 10% on your HVAC spending by increasing the adjustment to 7-10 degrees.
Energy-Efficient Thermostat Settings While on Vacation in Summer
If you leave for a lengthier trip in the hottest part of summer, you can make more significant adjustments. This prevents wasting energy while still safeguarding your home from the hassles that come with leaving it un-air conditioned. Something like 5 degrees is suitable for brief trips while closer to 10 degrees is worthwhile if you’ll be gone for 2 weeks or more. If you enjoy keeping the house at 72 in the summer, 78-82 can offer beneficial results.
Ideal Thermostat Settings While On a Trip in Winter
To determine the ideal thermostat setting for a winter trip, just lower the temperature by the same amount you would increase it in summer. 68 is a common winter thermostat setting, so adjusting to 63-58 will keep your plumbing safe while limiting how long your furnace operates.
A Smart Thermostat Can Help: Advantages of a Smart Thermostat
One of the best ways to manage your home’s HVAC system while away is using a smart thermostat. This innovative type of programmable thermostat utilizes intelligent software to track your usual comfort habits. It learns these preferences and makes automatic changes to the schedule for better energy efficiency. And with Wi-Fi compatibility, you can remotely control your HVAC system with a smart device like a phone or tablet.
Smart thermostats are packed with features to help you save energy and lower costs. To provide an example, certain models can monitor electricity prices to bolster heating or cooling when prices are lower. They are compatible with high-efficiency, variable-speed equipment to optimize how long your HVAC system should run. It’s the perfect tool to streamline how you use your comfort system. If you’re thinking about investing in a smart thermostat, there are a variety of ways you can bring down your costs, effectively getting a smart thermostat for free. The next time you leave for vacation, you can enjoy true peace of mind that your HVAC system won’t stir up any trouble while you’re away.