Between a much-needed vacation or an extended trip for work, traveling means making plans for your heating and cooling system. You won’t be using it if you’re on a trip, so you can adjust it as necessary to conserve 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 running and adjust the temperature depending on the time of year. That way you can lower energy costs without worrying about coming back to an uncomfortable home. We’ll explain why you shouldn’t turn 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 shut your HVAC system down before a trip, this will sometimes end up causing annoying problems by the time you come back. This is especially true in case the weather will be severely hot or cold while you’re out of town.
For instance, switching the HVAC system down during the summer could lead to very high humidity. Not only will your home feel like a swamp when you return, but it could have also stimulated mold/mildew growth or pest infestations.
And in the winter, leaving the furnace off can lead to pipes icing over or even bursting. It’s an awful feeling to come home from a long trip only to find considerable water damage close to a broken pipe.
Ideal Thermostat Settings While at Work
You can adjust the temperature even if you’re coming and going to work. Considering you’re not home for about 8 hours or longer, it doesn’t help your monthly energy bill to keep an empty home at the same temperature you’d usually have. As a general rule, it’s encouraged to raise the thermostat by 5 degrees or more. This means that if you prefer a comfortable 72 degrees, try raising it to 76-77 while you’re gone.
But you may 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 expenses by increasing the adjustment to 7-10 degrees.
Energy-Efficient Thermostat Settings While on a Trip in Summer
If you're on an extended trip in the hottest part of summer, you can make larger adjustments. This prevents wasting energy while still protecting your home from the issues that come with leaving it un-air conditioned. Around 5 degrees is recommended for brief trips while around 10 degrees is worthwhile if you’ll be away from home for 2 weeks or more. If you like keeping the house at 72 in the summer, 78-82 can offer great results.
Ideal Thermostat Settings While On a Trip in Winter
To try and find the best thermostat setting for a winter vacation, just lower the temperature by the same amount you would increase it in summer. 68 is a common winter thermostat setting, so adjusting to 63-58 will keep your plumbing safe while restricting how long your furnace runs.
A Smart Thermostat Can Help: Benefits of a Smart Thermostat
A great way to optimize your home’s HVAC system while away from home is by investing in a smart thermostat. This advanced type of programmable thermostat utilizes intelligent software to understand your typical comfort habits. It learns these preferences and makes automatic corrections to the schedule for maximum energy efficiency. And with Wi-Fi integration, you can remotely control your heating and cooling using a smart device like a phone or tablet.
Smart thermostats are stuffed with features to help you save even more. For instance, specific models can track 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 needs to run. It’s the ideal tool to streamline how you control your comfort system. If you’re considering investing in a smart thermostat, there are different ways you can lower your costs, essentially 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 cause any trouble while you’re gone.