From a much-needed vacation or an extended trip for work, traveling means making plans for your heating and cooling system. You won’t be using it if you’re away, so you can adjust it as appropriate to conserve your energy use. At the same time, you shouldn't just leave it off for the entire time you're out of the house.
Instead, it’s better to leave your HVAC system running and adjust the temperature depending on the time of year. That way you can lower energy costs without worrying about returning to an uncomfortable home. We’ll review why you should avoid turning your HVAC system off as well as the ideal thermostat settings for different times of year.
Here’s Why You Avoid Leaving Your Thermostat on Hold
While you might be tempted to shut your HVAC system down before a trip, this will sometimes end up causing costly problems by the time you get back. This is especially true if the weather will be severely hot or cold while you’re gone.
For instance, shutting the HVAC system off during the summer will sometimes lead to very high humidity. Not only will your home feel like a swamp when you come back, but it could have also encouraged mold/mildew growth or pest infestations.
And during the winter, leaving the furnace off might lead to pipes freezing 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.
Energy-Efficient Thermostat Settings While at Work
You can optimize the temperature even if you’re coming and going to work. Because you’re away for about 8 hours or longer, it doesn’t make sense to keep an empty home the same temperature as when you're home. As a general rule, it’s recommended to raise the thermostat by 5 degrees or so. This means that if you prefer a comfortable 72 degrees, think about adjusting it to 76-77 while you’re gone.
But you may save even more if you try further adjustments to the temperature. As reported by the Department of Energy, you could save nearly 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 leaving for a lengthier trip in the hottest part of summer, you can make bigger adjustments. This ensures you don’t waste energy while still defending your home from the issues that come with leaving it without air conditioning. Something like 5 degrees is suitable for short trips while a larger adjustment of 10 degrees is ideal if you’ll be away from home for 2 weeks or more. If you prefer keeping the house at 72 in the summer, 78-82 should offer the best results.
Ideal Thermostat Settings While Away from Home in Winter
To determine the best thermostat setting for a winter getaway, simply lower it by the same amount you would increase it in summer. 68 is a common winter thermostat setting, so adjusting to 63-58 will prevent ice from forming on pipes while restricting how frequently your furnace runs.
A Smart Thermostat Can Help: Benefits of a Smart Thermostat
A great way to regulate your home’s HVAC system while away from home is using a smart thermostat. This innovative 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 higher energy efficiency. And with Wi-Fi connectivity, you can remotely control your HVAC system with a smart device like a phone or tablet.
Smart thermostats are packed with features to help you save energy and lower costs. For example, specific models can monitor electricity prices to increase heating or cooling when prices are more affordable. They are compatible with high-efficiency, variable-speed equipment to fine-tune how long your HVAC system needs to run. It’s the optimal tool to simplify how you use your comfort system. If you’re considering investing in a smart thermostat, there are multiple ways you can bring down your costs, in essence 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.