Whether it’s a tropical vacation or an extended trip for work, traveling means making preparations for your home comfort system. You won’t be using it while you’re on a trip, so you can make adjustments as necessary to conserve your energy use. Just the same, you shouldn't just turn it off for the entire time you're out of the house.
In general, it’s ideal to leave your HVAC system on and just make adjustments depending on the season. That way you can reduce energy costs without stressing about coming back to an uncomfortable home. We’ll review why you should avoid turning your HVAC system off as well as the ideal thermostat settings for different times of year.
Here’s Why You Don't Leave Your Thermostat on Hold
While you might be wanting to turn your HVAC system off before a trip, this will sometimes end up leading to costly problems by the time you return. This is particularly true if the weather will be severely hot or cold while you’re gone.
For instance, shutting the HVAC system off in the summer can 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 over the winter, leaving the furnace off might lead to pipes freezing or even bursting. It’s an awful feeling to come home from a nice trip only to discover extensive water damage close to a broken pipe.
Best Thermostat Settings While at Work
You can adjust the temperature even if you’re coming and going to work. Because you’re out of the house for around 8 hours or so, it doesn’t seem sensible to keep an empty home at the same temperature you’d usually have. In general, it’s encouraged to adjust the thermostat by 5 degrees or more. Meaning that if you prefer a comfortable 72 degrees, try increasing it to 76-77 while you’re out.
But you can save even more if you're open to further adjusting the temperature. According to the Department of Energy, you might save about 10% on your HVAC costs by making an adjustment of 7-10 degrees.
Ideal Thermostat Settings While on a Trip in Summer
If you're on a longer trip in the hottest part of summer, you can make bigger adjustments. This helps you avoid using too much energy while still protecting your home from the hassles that come with leaving it uncooled. About 5 degrees is appropriate for shorter trips while around 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 the best results.
Best Thermostat Settings While Away from Home in Winter
To determine the most energy-efficient thermostat setting for a winter vacation, consider lowering the temperature by the same amount you would increase it in summer. 68 is a popular winter thermostat setting, so adjusting to 63-58 will keep your plumbing safe while limiting how long your furnace runs.
A Smart Thermostat Can Help: Advantages of a Smart Thermostat
A great way to regulate your home’s HVAC system while out of the house is with a smart thermostat. This advanced type of programmable thermostat employs intelligent software to understand your usual comfort habits. It learns these preferences and makes automatic changes to the schedule for better energy efficiency. And with Wi-Fi compatibility, you can remotely access your heating and cooling using a smart device like a phone or tablet.
Smart thermostats are packed with features to help you save energy and lower costs. For instance, some models can monitor electricity prices to boost heating or cooling when prices are lowest. They can be used with high-efficiency, variable-speed equipment to refine how long your HVAC system has to run. It’s the optimal tool to enhance how you use your comfort system. If you’re planning on investing in a smart thermostat, there are a variety of ways you can lower 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 gone.