Whether it’s a much-needed vacation or a long trip for work, leaving home means making plans for your home comfort system. You won’t be using it as long as you’re on a trip, so you can adjust the temperature as necessary to limit your energy use. At the same time, you shouldn't just leave it off for the entire time you're out of the house.
Instead, it’s better 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 stressing about returning to an uncomfortable home. We’ll walk you through why you shouldn’t turn your HVAC system off as well as the best thermostat settings for different times of year.
Here’s Why You Shouldn’t Leave Your Thermostat on Hold
While you might be inclined to turn your HVAC system off before a trip, this can end up leading to 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.
For instance, turning the HVAC system off in the summer could produce very high humidity. Not only will your home feel like a swamp when you return, but it may have also invited mold/mildew growth or pest infestations.
And during the winter, not using the furnace will sometimes lead to pipes freezing up or even bursting. It’s exhausting to return home from a nice trip only to find substantial water damage nearby a broken pipe.
Best Thermostat Settings While at Work
You can optimize the temperature even if you’re coming and going to work. Considering you’re out of the house for around 8 hours or so, it doesn’t make sense to keep an empty home the same temperature as when you're home. As a general rule, it’s encouraged to raise the thermostat by 5 degrees or so. This means that if you prefer a comfortable 72 degrees, try increasing it to 76-77 while you’re gone.
But you could save even more if you’re willing to further adjust the temperature. As reported by the Department of Energy, you may save around 10% on your HVAC costs by making an adjustment of 7-10 degrees.
Energy-Efficient Thermostat Settings While on a Trip in Summer
If you’re leaving for a lengthier trip in the heart of summer, you can make more significant adjustments. This prevents wasting energy while still defending your home from the issues that come with leaving it without air conditioning. Around 5 degrees is suitable for short trips while a larger adjustment of 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 beneficial results.
Recommended 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 popular winter thermostat setting, so adjusting to 63-58 will protect your plumbing while restricting how frequently your furnace runs.
A Smart Thermostat Can Help: Advantages of a Smart Thermostat
A great way to regulate your home’s HVAC system while out of the house is with a smart thermostat. This innovative type of programmable thermostat utilizes intelligent software to monitor your typical 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 control your HVAC system using a smartphone or tablet.
Smart thermostats are packed with features to help you save energy and lower costs. To provide an 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 fine-tune how long your HVAC system needs to run. It’s the ideal tool to simplify how you use your comfort system. If you’re planning on investing in a smart thermostat, there are different ways you can bring down 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 cause any trouble while you’re away.