Between a much-needed vacation or an extended trip for work, leaving home means making preparations for your home comfort system. You won’t be using it as long as you’re on a trip, so you can make adjustments as appropriate to minimize your energy use. Simultaneously, you don’t want to just leave it off for the entire time you're out of the house.
Instead, it’s best to leave your HVAC system running and just raise or lower depending on whether it's winter or summer. That way you can lower energy costs without worrying about returning to an uncomfortable home. We’ll review why you shouldn’t turn your HVAC system off as well as the best thermostat settings for various times of year.
Here’s Why You Avoid Leaving Your Thermostat on Hold
While you might be tempted to leave your HVAC system off before a trip, this will sometimes end up stirring up costly problems by the time you come back. This is particularly true in case the weather will be severely hot or cold while you’re out of town.
As an example, switching the HVAC system off in the summer could lead to very high humidity. Not only will your home feel gross when you return, but it may have also stimulated mold/mildew growth or pest infestations.
And during the winter, letting your house get cold will sometimes lead to pipes freezing or even bursting. It’s exhausting to get home from a long trip only to come across substantial water damage nearby a broken pipe.
Ideal Thermostat Settings While at Work
You can optimize 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 make sense to keep an empty home heated or cooled as if you were there. As a general rule, it’s suggested 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 at work.
But you may 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 spending by raising the temperature by about 7-10 degrees.
Best Thermostat Settings While on Vacation in Summer
If you're on a lengthier trip in the hottest part of summer, you can make bigger adjustments. This prevents wasting energy while still protecting your home from the issues that come with leaving it un-air conditioned. About 5 degrees is suitable for short trips while closer to 10 degrees is best if you’ll be gone for 2 weeks or longer. If you like keeping the house at 72 in the summer, 78-82 will offer beneficial results.
Recommended Thermostat Settings While On a Trip in Winter
To figure out the ideal thermostat setting for a winter getaway, just lower the temperature by the same amount you would adjust it in summer. 68 is a frequent winter thermostat setting, so turning it down to 63-58 will prevent ice from forming on pipes while limiting how often your furnace runs.
A Smart Thermostat Can Help: Advantages of a Smart Thermostat
One of the best ways to regulate your home’s HVAC system while away is by investing in a smart thermostat. This advanced type of programmable thermostat utilizes intelligent software to monitor your preferred comfort habits. It gradually understands these preferences and makes automatic corrections to the schedule for better energy efficiency. And with Wi-Fi integration, you can remotely control your HVAC system from a smart device like a phone or tablet.
Smart thermostats are packed with features to help you save energy and lower costs. For example, some models can monitor electricity prices to increase heating or cooling when prices are more affordable. They can also work with high-efficiency, variable-speed equipment to fine-tune how long your HVAC system needs to run. It’s the ideal tool to streamline how you control your comfort system. If you’re thinking about investing in a smart thermostat, there are multiple ways you can lower your costs, effectively 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 cause any trouble while you’re gone.