From a relaxing vacation or a lengthy trip for work, taking a trip means making preparations for your home comfort system. You don't need it if you’re not home, so you can adjust the temperature as appropriate to minimize your energy use. At the same time, you shouldn't just turn it off for the entire time you're out of the house.
Instead, it’s ideal to leave your HVAC system on and adjust the temperature depending on the season. That way you can lower energy costs without stressing about returning to an uncomfortable home. We’ll explain 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 Shouldn’t Leave Your Thermostat on Hold
While you could be inclined to leave your HVAC system off before a trip, this could end up leading to big problems by the time you come back. This is notably true if the weather will be severely hot or cold while you’re out of town.
For instance, switching the HVAC system off during the summer could produce very high humidity. Not only will your home feel gross when you return, but it could have also stimulated mold/mildew growth or pest infestations.
And over the winter, letting your house get cold can lead to pipes freezing or even bursting. It’s exhausting to return home from a long trip only to find substantial water damage nearby a broken pipe.
Ideal Thermostat Settings While at Work
You can adjust the temperature even if you’re coming and going to work. Since you’re away for around 8 hours or so, it doesn’t make sense to keep an empty home the same temperature as when you're home. As a general rule, it’s suggested to turn up the thermostat by 5 degrees or so. This means that if you prefer a comfortable 72 degrees, try raising it to 76-77 while you’re at work.
But you may save even more if you're open to further adjusting the temperature. According to the Department of Energy, you may save around 10% on your HVAC expenses by increasing the adjustment to 7-10 degrees.
Energy-Efficient Thermostat Settings While Away from Home in Summer
If you leave for a lengthier trip in the heart of summer, you can make more significant adjustments. This helps you avoid using too much energy while still protecting your home from the issues that come with leaving it uncooled. 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 enjoy keeping the house at 72 in the summer, 78-82 can offer beneficial results.
Best Thermostat Settings While Away from Home in Winter
To determine the ideal thermostat setting for a winter getaway, just lower the temperature by the same amount you would raise it in summer. 68 is a common winter thermostat setting, so adjusting to 63-58 will keep your plumbing safe while restricting how often your furnace runs.
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 employs intelligent software to track your usual comfort habits. It applies these preferences and makes automatic corrections to the schedule for higher energy efficiency. And with Wi-Fi connectivity, you can remotely access your heating and cooling from a smart device like a phone or tablet.
Smart thermostats are loaded with features to help you save energy and lower costs. To provide an example, specific models can observe electricity prices to boost 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 perfect tool to streamline how you use your comfort system. If you’re thinking about 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 gone.