Whether it’s a much-needed vacation or an extended trip for work, leaving home means making plans for your home comfort system. You don't need it while you’re on a trip, so you can make adjustments as needed to limit your energy use. At the same time, you don’t want to just leave it off for the entire time you're out of the house.
For the most part, it’s ideal to leave your HVAC system running and just raise or lower depending on the season. That way you can lower energy costs without worrying about getting back to an uncomfortable home. We’ll walk you through why you shouldn’t turn your HVAC system off as well as the best thermostat settings for summer and winter.
Here’s Why You Avoid Leaving Your Thermostat on Hold
While you could be inclined to leave your HVAC system off before a trip, this can end up leading to annoying 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.
For example, shutting the HVAC system down in the summer can cause very high humidity. Not only will your home feel muggy and uncomfortable when you have returned, but it may have also stimulated mold/mildew growth or pest infestations.
And over the winter, not using the furnace might lead to pipes freezing up or even bursting. It’s exhausting to come home from a nice trip only to come across substantial water damage near a broken pipe.
Energy-Efficient Thermostat Settings While at Work
You can adjust the temperature even when you're just going to work. Since you’re out of the house for 8 hours or more, 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. That means that if you prefer a comfortable 72 degrees, consider increasing it to 76-77 while you’re gone.
But you may save even more if you try further adjustments to the temperature. According to the Department of Energy, you might save around 10% on your HVAC spending by increasing the adjustment to 7-10 degrees.
Ideal Thermostat Settings While on a Trip in Summer
If you’re leaving for a longer trip in the hottest part of summer, you can make larger adjustments. This helps you avoid using too much energy while still defending your home from the hassles that come with leaving it un-air conditioned. About 5 degrees is suitable for short trips while a larger adjustment of 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 the best results.
Ideal Thermostat Settings While on Vacation in Winter
To determine the most energy-efficient thermostat setting for a winter getaway, consider lowering the temperature by the same amount you would increase it in summer. 68 is a popular winter thermostat setting, so turning it down to 63-58 will prevent ice from forming on pipes while restricting how long your furnace operates.
A Smart Thermostat Can Help: Perks of a Smart Thermostat
One of the best ways to regulate your home’s HVAC system while away is using a smart thermostat. This innovative type of programmable thermostat employs intelligent software to track your typical comfort habits. It applies these preferences and makes automatic adjustments to the schedule for maximum energy efficiency. And with Wi-Fi integration, you can remotely access your HVAC system with a mobile device or tablet.
Smart thermostats are packed with features to help you save on your energy bill. For instance, some models can track electricity prices to bolster heating or cooling when prices are lowest. They can be used with high-efficiency, variable-speed equipment to optimize how long your HVAC system should run. It’s the optimal tool to simplify how you use your comfort system. If you’re planning on investing in a smart thermostat, there are multiple ways you can reduce your costs, effectively getting a smart thermostat for free. The next time you leave for vacation, you can enjoy true peace of mind that your HVAC system won’t cause any trouble while you’re away from home.