Between a much-needed vacation or a lengthy trip for work, traveling means making preparations for your home comfort system. You don't need it if you’re not home, so you can make adjustments as appropriate to limit your energy use. Just the same, you don’t want to just turn it off for the entire duration of your trip.
For the most part, it’s better to leave your HVAC system running and just raise or lower depending on the season. That way you can reduce energy costs without stressing about getting back to an uncomfortable home. We’ll walk you through why you should leave your HVAC system on as well as the ideal thermostat settings for different times of year.
Here’s Why You Don't Leave Your Thermostat on Hold
While you could be tempted to leave your HVAC system off before a trip, this will sometimes end up stirring up annoying problems by the time you come back. This is notably true when the weather will be severely hot or cold while you’re gone.
For example, switching the HVAC system off during the summer can produce very high humidity. Not only will your home feel like a swamp when you return, but it could have also encouraged mold/mildew growth or pest infestations.
And over the winter, leaving the furnace off could lead to pipes freezing up or even bursting. It’s never fun to get home from a long trip only to find substantial water damage near a broken pipe.
Energy-Efficient Thermostat Settings While at Work
You can make temperature adjustments even when you're just going to work. Considering you’re not home for 8 hours or more, it doesn’t help your monthly energy bill to keep an empty home at the same temperature you’d usually have. As a general rule, it’s encouraged to adjust the thermostat by 5 degrees or more. That means that if you prefer a comfortable 72 degrees, try adjusting it to 76-77 while you’re at work.
But you could save even more if you try further adjustments to the temperature. As stated by the Department of Energy, you could save about 10% on your HVAC costs by making an adjustment of 7-10 degrees.
Best Thermostat Settings While on a Trip in Summer
If you're on a longer trip in the heart of summer, you can make more significant adjustments. This helps you avoid using too much energy while still safeguarding your home from the problems that come with leaving it un-air conditioned. Something like 5 degrees is recommended for short trips while around 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 can offer great results.
Recommended Thermostat Settings While on Vacation in Winter
To determine the ideal thermostat setting for a winter vacation, simply lower it by the same amount you would raise it in summer. 68 is a popular winter thermostat setting, so turning it down to 63-58 will keep your plumbing safe while limiting how long your furnace runs.
A Smart Thermostat Can Help: Advantages of a Smart Thermostat
One of the best ways to manage your home’s HVAC system while away from home is using a smart thermostat. This special type of programmable thermostat utilizes intelligent software to understand your typical comfort habits. It applies these preferences and makes automatic changes to the schedule for maximum energy efficiency. And with Wi-Fi connectivity, you can remotely adjust your HVAC system from a smartphone or tablet.
Smart thermostats are loaded 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 has to run. It’s the optimal tool to enhance how you use your comfort system. If you’re thinking about investing in a smart thermostat, there are a variety of ways you can lower your costs, effectively 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.