Between a much-needed vacation or a long trip for work, taking a trip means making plans for your heating and cooling system. You don't need it if you’re on a trip, so you can make adjustments as needed to minimize your energy use. Just the same, you shouldn't just leave it off for the entire time you're out of the house.
In general, it’s ideal to leave your HVAC system going and adjust the temperature depending on the season. That way you can lower energy costs without worrying about returning to an uncomfortable home. We’ll review why you should avoid turning your HVAC system off as well as the best thermostat settings for summer and winter.
Here’s Why You Avoid Leaving Your Thermostat on Hold
While you could be wanting to turn your HVAC system off before a trip, this will sometimes end up stirring up big problems by the time you return. This is particularly true if the weather will be severely hot or cold while you’re out of town.
For example, shutting the HVAC system off during the summer can produce very high humidity. Not only will your home feel gross when you return, but it might have also stimulated mold/mildew growth or pest infestations.
And over the winter, leaving the furnace off will sometimes lead to pipes freezing or even bursting. It’s an awful feeling to get home from a long trip only to come across extensive water damage close to a broken pipe.
Energy-Efficient Thermostat Settings While at Work
You can optimize the temperature 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 the same temperature as when you're home. In general, it’s suggested to raise the thermostat by 5 degrees or so. This means that if you prefer a comfortable 72 degrees, try adjusting 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 around 10% on your HVAC costs by raising the temperature by about 7-10 degrees.
Ideal Thermostat Settings While Away from Home in Summer
If you’re leaving for an extended trip in the hottest part of summer, you can make more significant adjustments. This ensures you don’t waste energy while still safeguarding your home from the problems that come with leaving it without air conditioning. About 5 degrees is appropriate for short trips while a larger adjustment of 10 degrees is best if you’ll be away from home for 2 weeks or more. If you enjoy keeping the house at 72 in the summer, 78-82 will offer the best results.
Best Thermostat Settings While on Vacation in Winter
To try and find the most energy-efficient thermostat setting for a winter trip, consider lowering the temperature by the same amount you would raise it in summer. 68 is a common winter thermostat setting, so lowering it to 63-58 will protect your plumbing while minimizing how often your furnace runs.
A Smart Thermostat Can Help: Perks of a Smart Thermostat
One of the best ways to regulate your home’s HVAC system while away is using a smart thermostat. This advanced type of programmable thermostat utilizes intelligent software to monitor your usual comfort habits. It gradually understands these preferences and makes automatic adjustments to the schedule for better energy efficiency. And with Wi-Fi compatibility, you can remotely adjust your heating and cooling with a smart device like a phone or tablet.
Smart thermostats are packed with features to help you save on your energy bill. To provide an example, some models can track electricity prices to boost heating or cooling when prices are more affordable. They can also work with high-efficiency, variable-speed equipment to optimize how long your HVAC system has to run. It’s the ideal tool to simplify how you control your comfort system. If you’re thinking about 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 appreciate true peace of mind that your HVAC system won’t cause any trouble while you’re away.