From a much-needed vacation or a long trip for work, traveling means making preparations for your home comfort system. You can't use it as long as you’re away, so you can make adjustments as appropriate to limit your energy use. Just the same, you shouldn't just leave it off for the entire time you're gone.
Instead, it’s ideal to leave your HVAC system running and just make adjustments depending on the time of year. That way you can minimize energy costs without having to worry about returning to an uncomfortable home. We’ll explain 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 could be inclined to shut your HVAC system down before a trip, this will sometimes end up leading to big problems by the time you get back. This is notably true in case 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 cause very high humidity. Not only will your home feel muggy and uncomfortable when you come back, but it might have also invited mold/mildew growth or pest infestations.
And over the winter, not using the furnace can lead to pipes freezing or even bursting. It’s never fun to get home from a vacation only to discover considerable water damage close to a broken pipe.
Energy-Efficient Thermostat Settings While at Work
You can adjust the temperature even if you’re coming and going to work. Considering you’re out of the house for around 8 hours or so, 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 encouraged to turn up the thermostat by 5 degrees or more. Meaning that if you prefer a comfortable 72 degrees, consider raising it to 76-77 while you’re at work.
But you may save even more if you're open to further adjusting the temperature. As stated by the Department of Energy, you could save about 10% on your HVAC spending by raising the temperature by about 7-10 degrees.
Energy-Efficient Thermostat Settings While on Vacation in Summer
If you leave for a longer trip in the hottest part of summer, you can make more significant adjustments. This prevents wasting energy while still protecting your home from the issues that come with leaving it un-air conditioned. Around 5 degrees is recommended for short trips while a larger adjustment of 10 degrees is best if you’ll be out of town for 2 weeks or longer. If you like keeping the house at 72 in the summer, 78-82 should 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 raise it in summer. 68 is a frequent winter thermostat setting, so lowering it to 63-58 will prevent ice from forming on pipes while limiting how long your furnace operates.
A Smart Thermostat Can Help: Perks of a Smart Thermostat
One of the best ways to manage your home’s HVAC system while out of the house is by investing in a smart thermostat. This advanced type of programmable thermostat employs intelligent software to track your preferred comfort habits. It learns these preferences and makes automatic changes to the schedule for maximum energy efficiency. And with Wi-Fi integration, you can remotely access your heating and cooling from 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, some models can monitor electricity prices to increase heating or cooling when prices are lowest. They are compatible with high-efficiency, variable-speed equipment to refine how long your HVAC system should run. It’s the optimal tool to streamline how you use your comfort system. If you’re planning on investing in a smart thermostat, there are different ways you can lower your costs, effectively getting a smart thermostat for free. The next time you leave for vacation, you can appreciate true peace of mind that your HVAC system won’t stir up any trouble while you’re away from home.