From a relaxing vacation or an extended trip for work, traveling means making preparations for your HVAC system. You can't use it while you’re away, so you can adjust the temperature as necessary to limit your energy use. At the same time, you shouldn't just turn it off for the entire time you're out of the house.
In general, it’s best to leave your HVAC system running and just make adjustments depending on whether it's winter or summer. That way you can lower energy costs without stressing about getting back to an uncomfortable home. We’ll walk you through why you shouldn’t turn your HVAC system off as well as the ideal thermostat settings for various times of year.
Here’s Why You Shouldn’t Leave Your Thermostat on Hold
While you may be wanting to shut your HVAC system down before a trip, this will sometimes end up leading to big problems by the time you come back. This is notably true if the weather will be severely hot or cold while you’re out of town.
As an example, turning the HVAC system down in the summer can produce very high humidity. Not only will your home feel gross when you return, but it might have also stimulated mold/mildew growth or pest infestations.
And during the winter, leaving the furnace off can lead to pipes freezing or even bursting. It’s an awful feeling to get home from a long trip only to come across considerable water damage nearby a broken pipe.
Best Thermostat Settings While at Work
You can make temperature adjustments even when you're just going to work. Because you’re out of the house for about 8 hours or longer, it doesn’t make sense to keep an empty home the same temperature as when you're home. In general, it’s encouraged to raise the thermostat by 5 degrees or more. Meaning that if you prefer a comfortable 72 degrees, try adjusting it to 76-77 while you’re at work.
But you may save even more if you’re willing to further adjust the temperature. As reported by the Department of Energy, you might save about 10% on your HVAC costs by making an adjustment of 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 un-air conditioned. Around 5 degrees is appropriate for brief trips while a larger adjustment of 10 degrees is worthwhile if you’ll be out of town for 2 weeks or longer. If you like keeping the house at 72 in the summer, 78-82 should offer the best results.
Ideal Thermostat Settings While on Vacation in Winter
To try and find the best thermostat setting for a winter trip, simply lower it by the same amount you would raise it in summer. 68 is a frequent winter thermostat setting, so lowering it to 63-58 will protect your plumbing while minimizing how frequently your furnace runs.
A Smart Thermostat Can Help: Benefits of a Smart Thermostat
A great way to regulate your home’s HVAC system while away is using a smart thermostat. This innovative type of programmable thermostat utilizes intelligent software to track your preferred comfort habits. It learns these preferences and makes automatic corrections to the schedule for better energy efficiency. And with Wi-Fi compatibility, you can remotely adjust your heating and cooling from a smart device like a phone or tablet.
Smart thermostats are packed with features to help you save even more. For example, certain models can monitor electricity prices to increase heating or cooling when prices are lowest. They can be used with high-efficiency, variable-speed equipment to refine how long your HVAC system should run. It’s the ideal tool to enhance how you use your comfort system. If you’re considering investing in a smart thermostat, there are different 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 stir up any trouble while you’re gone.