Between a tropical vacation or a long trip for work, taking a trip means making preparations for your HVAC system. You can't use it while you’re not home, so you can make adjustments as appropriate to limit your energy use. At the same time, you shouldn't just leave it off for the entire time you're out of the house.
Instead, it’s better to leave your HVAC system running and just raise or lower depending on the time of year. That way you can lower energy costs without worrying 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 might be inclined to leave your HVAC system off before a trip, this could end up leading to costly problems by the time you come back. This is especially true when the weather will be severely hot or cold while you’re out of town.
For example, turning the HVAC system down in the summer can 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 in the winter, leaving the furnace off might lead to pipes freezing up or even bursting. It’s exhausting to get home from a vacation only to discover considerable water damage near a broken pipe.
Best Thermostat Settings While at Work
You can optimize the temperature even if you’re coming and going to work. Because you’re not home for about 8 hours or longer, it doesn’t seem sensible to keep an empty home at the same temperature you’d usually have. Generally, it’s suggested to raise the thermostat by 5 degrees or more. Meaning that if you prefer a comfortable 72 degrees, think about increasing it to 76-77 while you’re gone.
But you can save even more if you’re willing to further adjust the temperature. As stated by the Department of Energy, you could save about 10% on your HVAC expenses by making an adjustment of 7-10 degrees.
Ideal Thermostat Settings While on a Trip in Summer
If you’re leaving for a lengthier trip in the heart of summer, you can make larger adjustments. This ensures you don’t waste energy while still protecting your home from the problems that come with leaving it uncooled. Around 5 degrees is appropriate for short trips while a larger adjustment of 10 degrees is ideal if you’ll be out of town for 2 weeks or more. If you enjoy keeping the house at 72 in the summer, 78-82 should offer beneficial results.
Ideal Thermostat Settings While Away from Home in Winter
To determine the most energy-efficient thermostat setting for a winter trip, simply lower it by the same amount you would increase it in summer. 68 is a common winter thermostat setting, so adjusting to 63-58 will keep your plumbing safe while minimizing how long your furnace runs.
A Smart Thermostat Can Help: Advantages of a Smart Thermostat
A great way to manage your home’s HVAC system while out of the house is by investing in a smart thermostat. This special type of programmable thermostat uses intelligent software to track your typical comfort habits. It gradually understands these preferences and makes automatic changes to the schedule for maximum energy efficiency. And with Wi-Fi compatibility, you can remotely access your HVAC system from a smart device like a phone or tablet.
Smart thermostats are stuffed with features to help you save on your energy bill. For example, specific models can observe electricity prices to bolster heating or cooling when prices are lowest. They can also work with high-efficiency, variable-speed equipment to optimize how long your HVAC system has to run. It’s the optimal tool to enhance how you control your comfort system. If you’re thinking about investing in a smart thermostat, there are a variety of ways you can lower your costs, effectively getting a smart thermostat for free. The next time you are away from home, you can enjoy true peace of mind that your HVAC system won’t cause any trouble while you’re away.