Between a much-needed vacation or a lengthy trip for work, taking a trip means making plans for your home comfort system. You can't use it while you’re away, so you can adjust the temperature as appropriate to minimize your energy use. At the same time, you shouldn't just shut it down 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 whether it's winter or summer. 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 best thermostat settings for various times of year.
Here’s Why You Avoid Leaving Your Thermostat on Hold
While you could be inclined to leave your HVAC system off before a trip, this will sometimes end up leading to costly problems by the time you come back. This is especially true in case the weather will be severely hot or cold while you’re away from home.
As an example, switching the HVAC system down in the summer can cause very high humidity. Not only will your home feel muggy and uncomfortable when you return, but it might have also encouraged mold/mildew growth or pest infestations.
And during the winter, letting your house get cold can lead to pipes freezing or even bursting. It’s an awful feeling to return home from a vacation only to find substantial water damage near a broken pipe.
Best 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 make sense to keep an empty home heated or cooled as if you were there. In general, it’s recommended to raise the thermostat by 5 degrees or so. This means that if you prefer a comfortable 72 degrees, think about increasing it to 76-77 while you’re gone.
But you can save even more if you’re willing to further adjust the temperature. As stated by the Department of Energy, you may save around 10% on your HVAC spending by raising the temperature by about 7-10 degrees.
Ideal Thermostat Settings While on a Trip in Summer
If you’re leaving for a lengthier trip in the hottest part of summer, you can make larger adjustments. This prevents wasting energy while still protecting your home from the problems that come with leaving it uncooled. About 5 degrees is suitable for brief trips while a larger adjustment of 10 degrees is ideal 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 should offer the best results.
Recommended Thermostat Settings While On a Trip in Winter
To figure out the ideal thermostat setting for a winter getaway, just lower the temperature by the same amount you would increase it in summer. 68 is a frequent winter thermostat setting, so lowering it to 63-58 will protect your plumbing while restricting how long your furnace runs.
A Smart Thermostat Can Help: Advantages of a Smart Thermostat
One of the best ways to regulate your home’s HVAC system while away from home is by investing in a smart thermostat. This advanced type of programmable thermostat uses intelligent software to track your typical comfort habits. It learns these preferences and makes automatic corrections to the schedule for higher energy efficiency. And with Wi-Fi connectivity, you can remotely access your HVAC system from a mobile device or tablet.
Smart thermostats are packed with features to help you save energy and lower costs. For instance, certain models can track electricity prices to increase heating or cooling when prices are lower. They can be used with high-efficiency, variable-speed equipment to fine-tune how long your HVAC system needs to run. It’s the perfect tool to streamline how you use your comfort system. If you’re planning on investing in a smart thermostat, there are multiple ways you can bring down your costs, in essence 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.