From a much-needed vacation or a lengthy trip for work, traveling means making preparations for your home comfort system. You don't need it while you’re on a trip, so you can adjust the temperature as appropriate to minimize your energy use. Just the same, you shouldn't just turn it off for the entire duration of your trip.
For the most part, it’s ideal to leave your HVAC system going and adjust the temperature depending on the season. That way you can minimize energy costs without having to worry about getting back to an uncomfortable home. We’ll review why you should avoid turning your HVAC system off as well as the best thermostat settings for different times of year.
Here’s Why You Shouldn’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 leading to annoying 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 example, shutting the HVAC system down in the summer will sometimes lead to very high humidity. Not only will your home feel like a swamp when you have returned, but it may 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 come home from a vacation only to discover considerable water damage close to 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 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. That means that if you prefer a comfortable 72 degrees, think about raising it to 76-77 while you’re at work.
But you can save even more if you try further adjustments to the temperature. According to the Department of Energy, you might save nearly 10% on your HVAC expenses by making an adjustment of 7-10 degrees.
Ideal Thermostat Settings While on Vacation in Summer
If you’re leaving for a longer trip in the hottest part 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. About 5 degrees is recommended for brief trips while around 10 degrees is worthwhile if you’ll be out of town for 2 weeks or longer. If you like keeping the house at 72 in the summer, 78-82 should offer great results.
Best Thermostat Settings While Away from Home in Winter
To figure out the ideal thermostat setting for a winter vacation, consider lowering the temperature by the same amount you would raise it in summer. 68 is a frequent winter thermostat setting, so adjusting to 63-58 will keep your plumbing safe while minimizing 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 is by investing in a smart thermostat. This advanced type of programmable thermostat employs intelligent software to track your usual comfort habits. It learns these preferences and makes automatic changes to the schedule for maximum energy efficiency. And with Wi-Fi connectivity, you can remotely control your HVAC system with a smartphone or tablet.
Smart thermostats are loaded with features to help you save energy and lower costs. To provide an example, certain models can observe electricity prices to increase heating or cooling when prices are lowest. They can be used with high-efficiency, variable-speed equipment to fine-tune how long your HVAC system has to run. It’s the perfect tool to simplify how you control your comfort system. If you’re considering investing in a smart thermostat, there are multiple ways you can lower your costs, essentially 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 away.