Between a tropical vacation or a lengthy trip for work, leaving home means making plans for your heating and cooling system. You won’t be using it as long as you’re away, so you can adjust the temperature as needed to limit your energy use. At the same time, you shouldn't just turn it off for the entire duration of your trip.
For the most part, it’s best to leave your HVAC system going and just make adjustments depending on the time of year. That way you can reduce energy costs without having to worry about returning to an uncomfortable home. We’ll review why you should leave your HVAC system on as well as the best thermostat settings for summer and winter.
Here’s Why You Shouldn’t Leave Your Thermostat on Hold
While you may be inclined to shut your HVAC system down before a trip, this will sometimes end up causing annoying problems by the time you return. This is particularly true when the weather will be severely hot or cold while you’re away from home.
For example, shutting the HVAC system off in the summer could cause very high humidity. Not only will your home feel muggy and uncomfortable when you return, but it might have also encouraged mold/mildew growth or pest infestations.
And during the winter, not using the furnace could lead to pipes icing over or even bursting. It’s never fun to come home from a long trip only to find substantial water damage near a broken pipe.
Best Thermostat Settings While at Work
You can adjust the temperature even when you're just going 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. In general, it’s recommended to turn up the thermostat by 5 degrees or so. Meaning that if you prefer a comfortable 72 degrees, consider adjusting it to 76-77 while you’re at work.
But you can save even more if you’re willing to further adjust the temperature. According to the Department of Energy, you may save nearly 10% on your HVAC expenses by increasing the adjustment to 7-10 degrees.
Energy-Efficient Thermostat Settings While Away from Home in Summer
If you leave for an extended trip in the heart of summer, you can make bigger adjustments. This prevents wasting energy while still protecting your home from the problems that come with leaving it uncooled. Something like 5 degrees is suitable for short trips while closer to 10 degrees is ideal if you’ll be gone for 2 weeks or longer. If you enjoy keeping the house at 72 in the summer, 78-82 will offer the best results.
Recommended 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 popular winter thermostat setting, so adjusting to 63-58 will prevent ice from forming on pipes while restricting how frequently your furnace operates.
A Smart Thermostat Can Help: Benefits of a Smart Thermostat
One of the best ways to regulate your home’s HVAC system while away from home is using a smart thermostat. This special type of programmable thermostat uses intelligent software to monitor your preferred comfort habits. It gradually understands these preferences and makes automatic adjustments to the schedule for higher energy efficiency. And with Wi-Fi connectivity, you can remotely adjust your HVAC system using a smart device like a phone or tablet.
Smart thermostats are packed with features to help you save even more. For example, some models can monitor electricity prices to increase heating or cooling when prices are more affordable. 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 enhance how you control your comfort system. If you’re considering investing in a smart thermostat, there are different ways you can bring down your costs, essentially 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 from home.