Whether it’s a tropical vacation or a long trip for work, leaving home means making plans for your HVAC system. You won’t be using it while you’re away, so you can make adjustments as appropriate to conserve your energy use. Simultaneously, you don’t want to just shut it down for the entire time you're gone.
For the most part, it’s ideal to leave your HVAC system running and just raise or lower depending on the time of year. That way you can minimize energy costs without having to worry about coming back to an uncomfortable home. We’ll review why you shouldn’t turn your HVAC system off as well as the best thermostat settings for various times of year.
This Is Why You Avoid Leaving Your Thermostat Alone
While you could be tempted to leave your HVAC system off before a trip, this can end up leading to annoying problems by the time you return. This is notably true in case the weather will be severely hot or cold while you’re away from home.
For example, switching the HVAC system off during the summer will sometimes lead to very high humidity. Not only will your home feel gross when you have returned, but it may have also invited mold/mildew growth or pest infestations.
And in the winter, leaving the furnace off might lead to pipes icing over or even bursting. It’s an awful feeling to return home from a nice trip only to find extensive water damage near a broken pipe.
Energy-Efficient Thermostat Settings While at Work
You can make temperature adjustments even when you're just going to work. Considering you’re away 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. As a general rule, it’s recommended to raise the thermostat by 5 degrees or more. That means that if you prefer a comfortable 72 degrees, think about adjusting it to 76-77 while you’re at work.
But you could 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 spending by raising the temperature by about 7-10 degrees.
Best Thermostat Settings While on Vacation in Summer
If you’re leaving for a longer trip in the middle of summer, you can make bigger adjustments. This ensures you don’t waste energy while still protecting your home from the problems that come with leaving it uncooled. Something like 5 degrees is recommended 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 like keeping the house at 72 in the summer, 78-82 should offer great results.
Best Thermostat Settings While on Vacation in Winter
To figure out the ideal thermostat setting for a winter vacation, consider lowering the temperature by the same amount you would raise it in summer. 68 is a common winter thermostat setting, so turning it down to 63-58 will prevent ice from forming on pipes while minimizing how often your furnace runs.
Smart Thermostats Are Even Better: Benefits of a Smart Thermostat
One of the best ways to manage your home’s HVAC system while away from home is with a smart thermostat. This innovative type of programmable thermostat employs intelligent software to monitor your usual comfort habits. It gradually understands these preferences and makes automatic changes to the schedule for better energy efficiency. And with Wi-Fi compatibility, you can remotely control your HVAC system from a smart device like a phone or tablet.
Smart thermostats are stuffed with features to help you save even more. To provide an example, specific models can observe electricity prices to boost 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 simplify how you use your comfort system. If you’re considering investing in a smart thermostat, there are multiple ways you can reduce your costs, effectively getting a smart thermostat for free. The next time you leave for vacation, you can enjoy true peace of mind that your HVAC system won’t stir up any trouble while you’re away from home.