Whether it’s a tropical vacation or a long 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 make adjustments as necessary to limit your energy use. Just the same, you don’t want to just turn it off for the entire duration of your trip.
In general, it’s ideal to leave your HVAC system running and just make adjustments depending on the time of year. That way you can reduce energy costs without having to worry about returning to an uncomfortable home. We’ll review why you shouldn’t turn 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 could be inclined to turn 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 when the weather will be severely hot or cold while you’re out of town.
For instance, shutting the HVAC system off during the summer can cause very high humidity. Not only will your home feel muggy and uncomfortable when you return, but it may have also encouraged mold/mildew growth or pest infestations.
And in the winter, not using the furnace might lead to pipes freezing up or even bursting. It’s an awful feeling to get home from a vacation only to find extensive water damage close to a broken pipe.
Ideal Thermostat Settings While at Work
You can optimize the temperature even when you're just going to work. Considering 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 adjust the thermostat by 5 degrees or so. Meaning that if you prefer a comfortable 72 degrees, think about adjusting it to 76-77 while you’re gone.
But you could save even more if you try further adjustments to the temperature. As reported by the Department of Energy, you may save about 10% on your HVAC spending by increasing the adjustment to 7-10 degrees.
Best Thermostat Settings While on a Trip in Summer
If you're on a longer trip in the hottest part of summer, you can make larger adjustments. This ensures you don’t waste energy while still safeguarding your home from the problems that come with leaving it without air conditioning. About 5 degrees is recommended for shorter trips while around 10 degrees is ideal if you’ll be away from home 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 determine the most energy-efficient thermostat setting for a winter vacation, simply lower it 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 limiting how often your furnace operates.
A Smart Thermostat Can Help: Benefits of a Smart Thermostat
One of the best ways to optimize your home’s HVAC system while away from home is using a smart thermostat. This innovative type of programmable thermostat utilizes intelligent software to monitor your typical comfort habits. It gradually understands these preferences and makes automatic changes to the schedule for higher energy efficiency. And with Wi-Fi connectivity, you can remotely control your heating and cooling using a smart device like a phone or tablet.
Smart thermostats are loaded with features to help you save energy and lower costs. For example, specific models can track electricity prices to boost heating or cooling when prices are lowest. They can also work with high-efficiency, variable-speed equipment to refine how long your HVAC system needs 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 lower your costs, in essence getting a smart thermostat for free. The next time you leave for vacation, you can receive true peace of mind that your HVAC system won’t cause any trouble while you’re away.