Whether it’s a relaxing vacation or an extended trip for work, taking a trip means making preparations for your heating and cooling system. You don't need it if you’re on a trip, so you can adjust the temperature as necessary to conserve your energy use. Simultaneously, you shouldn't just turn it off for the entire duration of your trip.
Instead, 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 worrying about coming back to an uncomfortable home. We’ll explain why you should avoid turning your HVAC system off as well as the best thermostat settings for summer and winter.
Here’s Why You Shouldn’t Leave Your Thermostat on Hold
While you might be wanting to leave your HVAC system off before a trip, this can end up leading to annoying problems by the time you come back. This is particularly true when the weather will be severely hot or cold while you’re away from home.
For instance, turning the HVAC system down during the summer can produce very high humidity. Not only will your home feel muggy and uncomfortable when you return, but it may have also encouraged mold/mildew growth or pest infestations.
And over the winter, not using the furnace can lead to pipes freezing or even bursting. It’s exhausting to come home from a vacation only to discover extensive water damage close to a broken pipe.
Best Thermostat Settings While at Work
You can optimize the temperature even as you come and go to work. Because you’re not home for 8 hours or more, it doesn’t seem sensible to keep an empty home the same temperature as when you're home. As a general rule, it’s suggested to raise 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 out.
But you can save even more if you're open to further adjusting the temperature. According to the Department of Energy, you could save nearly 10% on your HVAC costs by increasing the adjustment to 7-10 degrees.
Ideal Thermostat Settings While Away from Home in Summer
If you’re leaving for a longer trip in the heart of summer, you can make bigger adjustments. This helps you avoid using too much energy while still safeguarding your home from the hassles that come with leaving it un-air conditioned. Something like 5 degrees is suitable for shorter trips while closer to 10 degrees is worthwhile if you’ll be away from home for 2 weeks or longer. If you enjoy keeping the house at 72 in the summer, 78-82 will offer beneficial results.
Best Thermostat Settings While Away from Home in Winter
To figure out the most energy-efficient thermostat setting for a winter trip, just lower the temperature by the same amount you would increase it in summer. 68 is a popular winter thermostat setting, so lowering it to 63-58 will protect your plumbing while restricting how frequently your furnace operates.
A Smart Thermostat Can Help: Perks of a Smart Thermostat
An ideal strategy to optimize your home’s HVAC system while away is with a smart thermostat. This innovative type of programmable thermostat uses intelligent software to track your preferred comfort habits. It applies these preferences and makes automatic changes to the schedule for maximum energy efficiency. And with Wi-Fi integration, you can remotely access your heating and cooling from a smart device like a phone or tablet.
Smart thermostats are packed with features to help you save even more. To provide an example, certain models can track electricity prices to bolster heating or cooling when prices are lowest. They can also work with high-efficiency, variable-speed equipment to refine how long your HVAC system should run. It’s the ideal 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 reduce 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 stir up any trouble while you’re gone.