Between a tropical vacation or a lengthy trip for work, leaving home means making preparations for your heating and cooling system. You won’t be using it while you’re away, so you can adjust it as necessary to minimize your energy use. Simultaneously, you shouldn't just shut it down for the entire duration of your trip.
Instead, it’s ideal to leave your HVAC system going and just make adjustments depending on the season. That way you can lower 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 most energy-efficient thermostat settings for different times of year.
Here’s Why You Don't Leave Your Thermostat on Hold
While you could be tempted to turn your HVAC system off before a trip, this will sometimes end up stirring up annoying problems by the time you get back. This is particularly true in case the weather will be severely hot or cold while you’re out of town.
For example, shutting the HVAC system down in the summer will sometimes lead to very high humidity. Not only will your home feel gross when you come back, but it might have also encouraged mold/mildew growth or pest infestations.
And during the winter, not using the furnace will sometimes lead to pipes icing over or even bursting. It’s an awful feeling to come home from a vacation only to come across extensive water damage nearby a broken pipe.
Energy-Efficient Thermostat Settings While at Work
You can make temperature adjustments even as you come and go to work. Considering you’re out of the house for 8 hours or more, 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 suggested to turn up the thermostat by 5 degrees or so. This means that if you prefer a comfortable 72 degrees, try raising it to 76-77 while you’re at work.
But you may save even more if you’re willing to further adjust the temperature. According to the Department of Energy, you may save around 10% on your HVAC costs by making an adjustment of 7-10 degrees.
Best Thermostat Settings While on a Trip in Summer
If you're on a lengthier trip in the middle of summer, you can make larger adjustments. This helps you avoid using too much energy while still defending your home from the problems that come with leaving it uncooled. Around 5 degrees is suitable for brief trips while a larger adjustment of 10 degrees is worthwhile 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.
Ideal Thermostat Settings While on Vacation in Winter
To try and find the best thermostat setting for a winter trip, simply lower it by the same amount you would adjust it in summer. 68 is a common winter thermostat setting, so lowering it to 63-58 will prevent ice from forming on pipes while limiting how often your furnace runs.
A Smart Thermostat Can Help: Perks of a Smart Thermostat
An ideal strategy to manage your home’s HVAC system while out of the house is with a smart thermostat. This advanced type of programmable thermostat uses intelligent software to track your preferred comfort habits. It applies these preferences and makes automatic corrections to the schedule for higher energy efficiency. And with Wi-Fi compatibility, you can remotely access your heating and cooling using a mobile device or tablet.
Smart thermostats are stuffed with features to help you save even more. For example, specific models can track electricity prices to boost heating or cooling when prices are lowest. They are compatible with high-efficiency, variable-speed equipment to fine-tune how long your HVAC system needs to run. It’s the optimal tool to enhance how you control your comfort system. If you’re considering 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.