From a tropical vacation or a long trip for work, traveling means making preparations for your home comfort system. You won’t be using it while you’re not home, so you can adjust it as appropriate to limit your energy use. Just the same, you don’t want to just leave it off for the entire duration of your trip.
For the most part, it’s better 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 returning to an uncomfortable home. We’ll explain why you shouldn’t turn 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 wanting to shut your HVAC system down before a trip, this will sometimes end up stirring up costly problems by the time you get back. This is especially true when the weather will be severely hot or cold while you’re away from home.
As an example, turning the HVAC system off during the summer can lead to very high humidity. Not only will your home feel muggy and uncomfortable when you come back, but it could have also invited mold/mildew growth or pest infestations.
And in the winter, letting your house get cold will sometimes lead to pipes icing over or even bursting. It’s an awful feeling to return home from a nice trip only to come across extensive water damage close to a broken pipe.
Ideal Thermostat Settings While at Work
You can make temperature adjustments even as you come and go to work. Since you’re out of the house for around 8 hours or so, it doesn’t help your monthly energy bill to keep an empty home at the same temperature you’d usually have. In general, it’s recommended to turn up the thermostat by 5 degrees or more. That means that if you prefer a comfortable 72 degrees, consider increasing it to 76-77 while you’re at work.
But you could save even more if you're open to further adjusting the temperature. As reported by the Department of Energy, you may 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’re leaving for a longer trip in the hottest part of summer, you can make larger adjustments. This helps you avoid using too much energy while still protecting your home from the problems that come with leaving it without air conditioning. Something like 5 degrees is recommended for brief trips while closer to 10 degrees is best if you’ll be away from home for 2 weeks or more. If you prefer keeping the house at 72 in the summer, 78-82 will offer beneficial results.
Ideal Thermostat Settings While Away from Home in Winter
To determine the most energy-efficient thermostat setting for a winter getaway, simply lower it 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 restricting how often your furnace runs.
A Smart Thermostat Can Help: Advantages of a Smart Thermostat
One of the best ways to optimize your home’s HVAC system while out of the house is with a smart thermostat. This advanced type of programmable thermostat uses intelligent software to understand your preferred comfort habits. It learns 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 smartphone or tablet.
Smart thermostats are loaded with features to help you save energy and lower costs. For instance, specific models can track electricity prices to increase heating or cooling when prices are lowest. They are compatible with high-efficiency, variable-speed equipment to optimize how long your HVAC system has to run. It’s the optimal tool to enhance how you control 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 are away from home, you can receive true peace of mind that your HVAC system won’t cause any trouble while you’re away.