From a much-needed vacation or a lengthy trip for work, taking a trip means making preparations for your heating and cooling system. You can't use it while you’re away, so you can make adjustments as necessary to minimize your energy use. At the same time, you shouldn't just shut it down for the entire time you're gone.
Instead, it’s best to leave your HVAC system on and just raise or lower depending on the time of year. That way you can reduce energy costs without worrying about getting back to an uncomfortable home. We’ll explain why you should avoid turning your HVAC system off as well as the most energy-efficient thermostat settings for various times of year.
Here’s Why You Avoid Leaving Your Thermostat on Hold
While you might be wanting to leave your HVAC system off before a trip, this will sometimes end up leading to big problems by the time you come back. This is particularly true if the weather will be severely hot or cold while you’re away from home.
As an example, switching the HVAC system off during the summer can cause very high humidity. Not only will your home feel muggy and uncomfortable when you have returned, but it could have also stimulated mold/mildew growth or pest infestations.
And over the winter, letting your house get cold might lead to pipes freezing or even bursting. It’s an awful feeling to come home from a nice trip only to come across extensive water damage near a broken pipe.
Ideal Thermostat Settings While at Work
You can make temperature adjustments even when you're just going to work. Because you’re away for about 8 hours or longer, it doesn’t seem sensible to keep an empty home heated or cooled as if you were there. Generally, it’s recommended to turn up the thermostat by 5 degrees or so. This means that if you prefer a comfortable 72 degrees, think about increasing it to 76-77 while you’re out.
But you could save even more if you're open to further adjusting the temperature. As reported by the Department of Energy, you might save nearly 10% on your HVAC costs by making an adjustment of 7-10 degrees.
Best Thermostat Settings While on a Trip in Summer
If you leave for an extended trip in the heart of summer, you can make larger adjustments. This helps you avoid using too much energy while still safeguarding your home from the issues that come with leaving it uncooled. Something like 5 degrees is recommended for shorter trips while around 10 degrees is worthwhile if you’ll be gone for 2 weeks or longer. If you enjoy keeping the house at 72 in the summer, 78-82 should offer beneficial results.
Best Thermostat Settings While on Vacation in Winter
To figure out 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 common winter thermostat setting, so lowering it to 63-58 will prevent ice from forming on pipes while minimizing how long your furnace operates.
A Smart Thermostat Can Help: Perks of a Smart Thermostat
One of the best ways to manage your home’s HVAC system while away is with a smart thermostat. This advanced type of programmable thermostat uses intelligent software to monitor your typical comfort habits. It gradually understands these preferences and makes automatic adjustments to the schedule for better energy efficiency. And with Wi-Fi compatibility, you can remotely access your heating and cooling with a smart device like a phone or tablet.
Smart thermostats are loaded with features to help you save even more. For instance, certain models can track 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 should run. It’s the optimal tool to streamline how you control your comfort system. If you’re planning on investing in a smart thermostat, there are multiple ways you can lower your costs, in essence getting a smart thermostat for free. The next time you are away from home, you can receive true peace of mind that your HVAC system won’t cause any trouble while you’re away from home.