From a much-needed vacation or a long trip for work, taking a trip means making plans for your home comfort system. You can't use it while you’re not home, so you can adjust it as appropriate to limit your energy use. Simultaneously, you don’t want to just turn it off for the entire time you're out of the house.
Instead, it’s ideal to leave your HVAC system going and just raise or lower depending on the season. That way you can minimize energy costs without having to worry about coming back to an uncomfortable home. We’ll explain why you should avoid turning your HVAC system off as well as the best thermostat settings for various times of year.
Here’s Why You Shouldn’t Leave Your Thermostat on Hold
While you may be inclined to leave your HVAC system off before a trip, this will sometimes end up stirring up costly problems by the time you get back. This is particularly true if the weather will be severely hot or cold while you’re out of town.
As an example, shutting the HVAC system down 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 over the winter, not using the furnace will sometimes lead to pipes icing over or even bursting. It’s an awful feeling to return home from a vacation only to discover extensive water damage near a broken pipe.
Ideal Thermostat Settings While at Work
You can adjust the temperature even when you're just going to work. Since you’re not home for about 8 hours or longer, it doesn’t seem sensible to keep an empty home the same temperature as when you're home. Generally, it’s recommended to raise the thermostat by 5 degrees or more. That means that if you prefer a comfortable 72 degrees, think about increasing it to 76-77 while you’re out.
But you can save even more if you try further adjustments to the temperature. As stated by the Department of Energy, you could save nearly 10% on your HVAC expenses by raising the temperature by about 7-10 degrees.
Best Thermostat Settings While on a Trip in Summer
If you’re leaving for a lengthier trip in the middle of summer, you can make larger adjustments. This helps you avoid using too much energy while still protecting your home from the issues that come with leaving it uncooled. Something like 5 degrees is appropriate for short trips while closer to 10 degrees is best if you’ll be gone for 2 weeks or more. If you like keeping the house at 72 in the summer, 78-82 should offer beneficial results.
Ideal Thermostat Settings While Away from Home in Winter
To try and find the most energy-efficient thermostat setting for a winter trip, just lower the temperature by the same amount you would adjust it in summer. 68 is a common winter thermostat setting, so turning it down to 63-58 will protect your plumbing while restricting how frequently your furnace runs.
A Smart Thermostat Can Help: Advantages of a Smart Thermostat
A great way to optimize your home’s HVAC system while away from home is by investing in a smart thermostat. This innovative type of programmable thermostat uses intelligent software to track your typical comfort habits. It applies these preferences and makes automatic corrections to the schedule for higher energy efficiency. And with Wi-Fi connectivity, you can remotely access your heating and cooling from a smartphone or tablet.
Smart thermostats are stuffed with features to help you save energy and lower costs. For example, some models can track electricity prices to increase heating or cooling when prices are lowest. 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 simplify 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, essentially 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.