From a much-needed vacation or an extended trip for work, leaving home means making preparations for your HVAC system. You won’t be using it as long as you’re away, so you can adjust it as necessary to limit your energy use. Just the same, you shouldn't just shut it down for the entire duration of your trip.
Instead, it’s best to leave your HVAC system going and just raise or lower depending on whether it's winter or summer. That way you can minimize energy costs without having to worry about coming back to an uncomfortable home. We’ll walk you through why you shouldn’t turn your HVAC system off as well as the most energy-efficient thermostat settings for various times of year.
Here’s Why You Shouldn’t Leave Your Thermostat on Hold
While you may be inclined to shut your HVAC system down before a trip, this can end up stirring up costly problems by the time you come back. This is especially true when the weather will be severely hot or cold while you’re out of town.
For instance, turning the HVAC system off in the summer can lead to very high humidity. Not only will your home feel like a swamp when you return, but it might have also invited mold/mildew growth or pest infestations.
And during the winter, leaving the furnace off will sometimes lead to pipes icing over or even bursting. It’s never fun to get home from a long trip only to find extensive water damage near a broken pipe.
Energy-Efficient Thermostat Settings While at Work
You can adjust the temperature even when you're just going to work. Since you’re away for about 8 hours or longer, it doesn’t make sense to keep an empty home at the same temperature you’d usually have. Generally, it’s encouraged to raise the thermostat by 5 degrees or more. Meaning that if you prefer a comfortable 72 degrees, think about increasing it to 76-77 while you’re out.
But you may save even more if you’re willing to further adjust the temperature. As stated by the Department of Energy, you could save about 10% on your HVAC expenses by increasing the adjustment to 7-10 degrees.
Ideal Thermostat Settings While on Vacation in Summer
If you're on a lengthier trip in the middle of summer, you can make larger adjustments. This helps you avoid using too much energy while still safeguarding your home from the hassles that come with leaving it without air conditioning. Something like 5 degrees is suitable for short trips while closer to 10 degrees is ideal if you’ll be away from home for 2 weeks or longer. If you prefer keeping the house at 72 in the summer, 78-82 will offer great results.
Best Thermostat Settings While On a Trip in Winter
To determine the best thermostat setting for a winter trip, consider lowering the temperature by the same amount you would increase it in summer. 68 is a frequent winter thermostat setting, so turning it down to 63-58 will prevent ice from forming on pipes while restricting how often your furnace operates.
A Smart Thermostat Can Help: Perks 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 preferred comfort habits. It learns these preferences and makes automatic changes to the schedule for maximum 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. To provide an example, certain models can observe electricity prices to boost heating or cooling when prices are more affordable. 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 simplify 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 receive true peace of mind that your HVAC system won’t cause any trouble while you’re away.