From a relaxing vacation or a lengthy trip for work, taking a trip means making preparations for your heating and cooling system. You can't use it as long as you’re not home, so you can adjust it as needed to minimize your energy use. Simultaneously, you shouldn't just leave it off for the entire time you're gone.
In general, it’s best to leave your HVAC system running and just raise or lower depending on whether it's winter or summer. That way you can lower energy costs without stressing about returning to an uncomfortable home. We’ll explain why you should leave your HVAC system on as well as the most energy-efficient thermostat settings for summer and winter.
This Is Why You Shouldn’t Leave Your Thermostat Alone
While you might be inclined to leave your HVAC system off before a trip, this can end up stirring up big problems by the time you come back. This is particularly true in case the weather will be severely hot or cold while you’re gone.
As an example, shutting the HVAC system off in the summer can cause very high humidity. Not only will your home feel like a swamp when you come back, but it could have also stimulated mold/mildew growth or pest infestations.
And over the winter, leaving the furnace off might lead to pipes icing over or even bursting. It’s an awful feeling to come home from a nice trip only to come across substantial water damage nearby a broken pipe.
Energy-Efficient Thermostat Settings While at Work
You can make temperature adjustments even if you’re coming and going to work. Because you’re away for 8 hours or more, it doesn’t help your monthly energy bill to keep an empty home the same temperature as when you're home. In general, it’s recommended to raise the thermostat by 5 degrees or so. That means that if you prefer a comfortable 72 degrees, think about raising it to 76-77 while you’re out.
But you could save even more if you're open to further adjusting the temperature. As stated by the Department of Energy, you could save nearly 10% on your HVAC costs by increasing the adjustment to 7-10 degrees.
Ideal Thermostat Settings While on a Trip in Summer
If you leave for a lengthier trip in the middle of summer, you can make bigger adjustments. This helps you avoid using too much energy while still safeguarding your home from the issues that come with leaving it un-air conditioned. About 5 degrees is suitable for short trips while a larger adjustment of 10 degrees is best 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 can offer the best results.
Recommended Thermostat Settings While On a Trip in Winter
To determine the ideal thermostat setting for a winter vacation, just lower the temperature by the same amount you would adjust it in summer. 68 is a common winter thermostat setting, so lowering it to 63-58 will protect your plumbing while limiting how often your furnace runs.
A Smart Thermostat Can Help: Advantages of a Smart Thermostat
One of the best ways to manage 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 monitor your usual comfort habits. It learns these preferences and makes automatic adjustments to the schedule for higher energy efficiency. And with Wi-Fi compatibility, you can remotely access your heating and cooling with a smart device like a phone or tablet.
Smart thermostats are stuffed with features to help you save energy and lower costs. To provide an example, some models can monitor electricity prices to boost heating or cooling when prices are more affordable. They can be used with high-efficiency, variable-speed equipment to fine-tune how long your HVAC system has to run. It’s the perfect tool to enhance how you use your comfort system. If you’re thinking about investing in a smart thermostat, there are a variety of ways you can bring down your costs, essentially 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 away from home.