Between a much-needed vacation or an extended trip for work, taking a trip means making plans for your HVAC system. You don't need it if you’re away, so you can adjust it as appropriate to minimize your energy use. Just the same, you shouldn't just turn it off for the entire duration of your trip.
Instead, it’s better to leave your HVAC system on and just raise or lower depending on the time of year. That way you can lower energy costs without having to worry about coming back to an uncomfortable home. We’ll explain why you should leave your HVAC system on as well as the ideal thermostat settings for different times of year.
Here’s Why You Avoid Leaving Your Thermostat on Hold
While you may be inclined to shut your HVAC system down before a trip, this will sometimes end up stirring up annoying problems by the time you return. This is particularly true when the weather will be severely hot or cold while you’re away from home.
For example, turning the HVAC system down in the summer will sometimes lead to very high humidity. Not only will your home feel muggy and uncomfortable when you return, but it could have also invited mold/mildew growth or pest infestations.
And during the winter, leaving the furnace off can lead to pipes freezing up or even bursting. It’s an awful feeling to get home from a vacation only to find considerable water damage near a broken pipe.
Energy-Efficient Thermostat Settings While at Work
You can make temperature adjustments even as you come and go to work. Because you’re out of the house for around 8 hours or so, it doesn’t seem sensible to keep an empty home heated or cooled as if you were there. In general, it’s suggested to raise the thermostat by 5 degrees or so. That means that if you prefer a comfortable 72 degrees, think about increasing it to 76-77 while you’re at work.
But you can save even more if you're open to further adjusting the temperature. As reported by the Department of Energy, you could save about 10% on your HVAC costs by increasing the adjustment to 7-10 degrees.
Ideal Thermostat Settings While on Vacation in Summer
If you're on a lengthier trip in the middle of summer, you can make bigger adjustments. This prevents wasting energy while still safeguarding your home from the issues that come with leaving it uncooled. Around 5 degrees is appropriate for shorter trips while a larger adjustment of 10 degrees is best if you’ll be out of town for 2 weeks or more. If you enjoy keeping the house at 72 in the summer, 78-82 should offer beneficial results.
Best Thermostat Settings While On a Trip in Winter
To figure out 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 frequent winter thermostat setting, so turning it down 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
One of the best ways to manage your home’s HVAC system while away is using a smart thermostat. This advanced type of programmable thermostat uses intelligent software to monitor your typical comfort habits. It learns these preferences and makes automatic corrections to the schedule for higher energy efficiency. And with Wi-Fi integration, you can remotely control your heating and cooling using a mobile device or tablet.
Smart thermostats are packed with features to help you save even more. To provide an example, some models can monitor electricity prices to bolster heating or cooling when prices are more affordable. They can also work with high-efficiency, variable-speed equipment to fine-tune how long your HVAC system should run. It’s the ideal tool to simplify how you control your comfort system. If you’re planning on investing in a smart thermostat, there are a variety of ways you can reduce 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 from home.