From a much-needed vacation or a lengthy trip for work, traveling means making preparations for your heating and cooling system. You can't use it while you’re not home, so you can make adjustments as needed to minimize your energy use. Just the same, you shouldn't just leave it off for the entire time you're gone.
Instead, it’s best to leave your HVAC system going and just raise or lower depending on the time of year. That way you can reduce 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 ideal thermostat settings for different times of year.
Here’s Why You Don't Leave Your Thermostat on Hold
While you may be wanting to turn your HVAC system off before a trip, this can end up stirring up annoying problems by the time you come back. This is notably true in case the weather will be severely hot or cold while you’re out of town.
As an example, turning the HVAC system off in the summer could cause very high humidity. Not only will your home feel like a swamp when you have returned, but it could have also invited mold/mildew growth or pest infestations.
And during the winter, letting your house get cold will sometimes lead to pipes icing over or even bursting. It’s never fun to come home from a nice trip only to discover extensive water damage near a broken pipe.
Ideal Thermostat Settings While at Work
You can adjust the temperature even if you’re coming and going to work. Considering you’re out of the house for 8 hours or more, it doesn’t help your monthly energy bill to keep an empty home at the same temperature you’d usually have. In general, it’s suggested to raise the thermostat by 5 degrees or more. This means that if you prefer a comfortable 72 degrees, try raising it to 76-77 while you’re out.
But you can save even more if you're open to further adjusting the temperature. As reported by the Department of Energy, you may save about 10% on your HVAC costs by making an adjustment of 7-10 degrees.
Best Thermostat Settings While on Vacation in Summer
If you're on an extended trip in the middle of summer, you can make bigger adjustments. This prevents wasting energy while still safeguarding your home from the hassles that come with leaving it un-air conditioned. Something like 5 degrees is recommended for shorter trips while closer to 10 degrees is ideal if you’ll be away from home for 2 weeks or longer. If you like keeping the house at 72 in the summer, 78-82 can offer the best results.
Best Thermostat Settings While On a Trip in Winter
To try and find the most energy-efficient thermostat setting for a winter getaway, simply lower it by the same amount you would adjust it in summer. 68 is a frequent winter thermostat setting, so lowering it to 63-58 will keep your plumbing safe while limiting how often your furnace runs.
A Smart Thermostat Can Help: Benefits of a Smart Thermostat
An ideal strategy to regulate your home’s HVAC system while away from home is using a smart thermostat. This innovative type of programmable thermostat uses intelligent software to track your usual comfort habits. It learns these preferences and makes automatic changes to the schedule for higher energy efficiency. And with Wi-Fi connectivity, you can remotely access your HVAC system with a smart device like a phone or tablet.
Smart thermostats are packed with features to help you save on your energy bill. To provide an example, certain models can track electricity prices to increase 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 should run. It’s the ideal tool to simplify how you use your comfort system. If you’re thinking about 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 are away from home, you can appreciate true peace of mind that your HVAC system won’t stir up any trouble while you’re away.