Whether it’s a relaxing vacation or an extended trip for work, leaving home means making preparations for your home comfort system. You don't need it if you’re on a trip, so you can adjust it as needed to conserve your energy use. At the same time, you shouldn't just turn it off for the entire time you're gone.
Instead, it’s better to leave your HVAC system on 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 walk you through why you shouldn’t turn your HVAC system off as well as the ideal thermostat settings for summer and winter.
Here’s Why You Avoid Leaving Your Thermostat Alone
While you could be inclined to leave your HVAC system off before a trip, this can end up causing annoying problems by the time you get back. This is notably true in case the weather will be severely hot or cold while you’re gone.
As an example, switching the HVAC system off in the summer will sometimes lead to very high humidity. Not only will your home feel like a swamp when you have returned, but it might have also invited mold/mildew growth or pest infestations.
And during the winter, letting your house get cold can lead to pipes freezing up or even bursting. It’s exhausting to get home from a nice trip only to discover considerable water damage near a broken pipe.
Ideal Thermostat Settings While at Work
You can make temperature adjustments even as you come and go to work. Since you’re out of the house for 8 hours or more, it doesn’t make sense to keep an empty home the same temperature as when you're home. As a general rule, it’s recommended to adjust the thermostat by 5 degrees or so. This means that if you prefer a comfortable 72 degrees, think about 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 reported by the Department of Energy, you might save nearly 10% on your HVAC expenses by increasing the adjustment to 7-10 degrees.
Best Thermostat Settings While Away from Home in Summer
If you leave for a longer trip in the middle of summer, you can make more significant adjustments. This prevents wasting energy while still protecting your home from the problems that come with leaving it without air conditioning. About 5 degrees is appropriate for short trips while around 10 degrees is ideal if you’ll be away from home for 2 weeks or more. If you prefer keeping the house at 72 in the summer, 78-82 should offer the best results.
Best Thermostat Settings While Away from Home in Winter
To determine the ideal thermostat setting for a winter trip, simply lower it 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 restricting how frequently your furnace runs.
A Smart Thermostat Can Help: Perks 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 uses intelligent software to monitor your usual comfort habits. It applies these preferences and makes automatic corrections to the schedule for maximum energy efficiency. And with Wi-Fi integration, you can remotely control your heating and cooling with a smartphone or tablet.
Smart thermostats are stuffed with features to help you save on your energy bill. For example, specific models can monitor electricity prices to boost heating or cooling when prices are lower. They can also work with high-efficiency, variable-speed equipment to fine-tune how long your HVAC system needs to run. It’s the perfect tool to streamline how you use your comfort system. If you’re considering investing in a smart thermostat, there are a variety of ways you can bring down your costs, in essence getting a smart thermostat for free. The next time you leave for vacation, you can receive true peace of mind that your HVAC system won’t cause any trouble while you’re away.