From a relaxing vacation or a lengthy trip for work, leaving home means making preparations for your HVAC system. You can't use it as long as you’re on a trip, so you can make adjustments as necessary to conserve your energy use. At the same time, you don’t want to just turn it off for the entire duration of your trip.
For the most part, it’s ideal to leave your HVAC system on and adjust the temperature depending on the season. That way you can reduce energy costs without having to worry about coming back to an uncomfortable home. We’ll explain why you should avoid turning your HVAC system off as well as the ideal thermostat settings for summer and winter.
Here’s Why You Don't Leave Your Thermostat on Hold
While you could be tempted to turn your HVAC system off before a trip, this could end up causing big problems by the time you come back. This is especially true when the weather will be severely hot or cold while you’re gone.
As an example, switching the HVAC system off during the summer will sometimes produce very high humidity. Not only will your home feel gross when you come back, but it might have also encouraged mold/mildew growth or pest infestations.
And during the winter, not using the furnace might lead to pipes freezing up or even bursting. It’s exhausting to return home from a long trip only to come across substantial water damage close to a broken pipe.
Ideal Thermostat Settings While at Work
You can make temperature adjustments even when you're just going to work. Because you’re away for around 8 hours or so, it doesn’t help your monthly energy bill to keep an empty home heated or cooled as if you were there. As a general rule, it’s suggested to adjust the thermostat by 5 degrees or so. That means that if you prefer a comfortable 72 degrees, try increasing it to 76-77 while you’re out.
But you can save even more if you're open to further adjusting the temperature. As reported by the Department of Energy, you might save about 10% on your HVAC expenses by increasing the adjustment to 7-10 degrees.
Energy-Efficient Thermostat Settings While on Vacation in Summer
If you leave for a longer trip in the middle of summer, you can make larger adjustments. This ensures you don’t waste energy while still protecting your home from the problems that come with leaving it uncooled. About 5 degrees is appropriate for shorter trips while closer to 10 degrees is best if you’ll be gone for 2 weeks or longer. If you like keeping the house at 72 in the summer, 78-82 can offer beneficial results.
Best Thermostat Settings While Away from Home in Winter
To figure out the ideal thermostat setting for a winter trip, consider lowering the temperature by the same amount you would increase it in summer. 68 is a popular winter thermostat setting, so adjusting to 63-58 will keep your plumbing safe while limiting how long your furnace runs.
A Smart Thermostat Can Help: Benefits of a Smart Thermostat
One of the best ways to regulate your home’s HVAC system while out of the house is with a smart thermostat. This special type of programmable thermostat utilizes intelligent software to understand your preferred comfort habits. It learns these preferences and makes automatic corrections to the schedule for maximum energy efficiency. And with Wi-Fi compatibility, you can remotely access your heating and cooling with a smart device like a phone or tablet.
Smart thermostats are stuffed with features to help you save energy and lower costs. To provide an example, some models can observe electricity prices to boost heating or cooling when prices are lowest. They are compatible with high-efficiency, variable-speed equipment to refine how long your HVAC system has to run. It’s the optimal 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, effectively getting a smart thermostat for free. The next time you leave for vacation, you can appreciate true peace of mind that your HVAC system won’t stir up any trouble while you’re gone.