Between a tropical vacation or an extended trip for work, leaving home means making plans for your HVAC system. You can't use it as long as you’re away, so you can adjust it as needed to minimize your energy use. At the same time, you shouldn't just leave it off for the entire duration of your trip.
In general, it’s better to leave your HVAC system going and just raise or lower depending on the season. That way you can minimize energy costs without worrying about coming back to an uncomfortable home. We’ll walk you through why you should leave your HVAC system on as well as the best thermostat settings for summer and winter.
Here’s Why You Avoid Leaving Your Thermostat on Hold
While you may be inclined to turn your HVAC system off before a trip, this will sometimes end up causing big problems by the time you return. This is particularly true in case the weather will be severely hot or cold while you’re away from home.
As an example, turning the HVAC system down during the summer could produce very high humidity. Not only will your home feel muggy and uncomfortable when you come back, but it could have also encouraged mold/mildew growth or pest infestations.
And over the winter, letting your house get cold can lead to pipes icing over or even bursting. It’s exhausting to return home from a long trip only to find considerable water damage nearby a broken pipe.
Energy-Efficient Thermostat Settings While at Work
You can adjust the temperature even if you’re coming and going to work. Because you’re away for around 8 hours or so, it doesn’t make sense to keep an empty home heated or cooled as if you were there. Generally, it’s encouraged to turn up the thermostat by 5 degrees or so. Meaning that if you prefer a comfortable 72 degrees, try increasing it to 76-77 while you’re at work.
But you can save even more if you’re willing to further adjust the temperature. According to the Department of Energy, you could save around 10% on your HVAC expenses by increasing the adjustment to 7-10 degrees.
Ideal Thermostat Settings While on a Trip 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 safeguarding your home from the hassles that come with leaving it un-air conditioned. Something like 5 degrees is recommended for shorter trips while closer to 10 degrees is worthwhile if you’ll be out of town for 2 weeks or longer. If you enjoy keeping the house at 72 in the summer, 78-82 can offer the best results.
Best Thermostat Settings While on Vacation in Winter
To figure out the best thermostat setting for a winter trip, just lower the temperature by the same amount you would increase it in summer. 68 is a frequent winter thermostat setting, so turning it down to 63-58 will protect your plumbing while restricting how often your furnace operates.
A Smart Thermostat Can Help: Advantages of a Smart Thermostat
One of the best ways to regulate your home’s HVAC system while away from home is using a smart thermostat. This advanced type of programmable thermostat employs intelligent software to understand your preferred comfort habits. It applies these preferences and makes automatic changes to the schedule for higher energy efficiency. And with Wi-Fi connectivity, you can remotely adjust your HVAC system from a smartphone or tablet.
Smart thermostats are stuffed with features to help you save energy and lower costs. For example, certain models can monitor electricity prices to increase heating or cooling when prices are lower. They are compatible with high-efficiency, variable-speed equipment to fine-tune 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 reduce your costs, in essence getting a smart thermostat for free. The next time you are away from home, you can appreciate true peace of mind that your HVAC system won’t stir up any trouble while you’re away.