From a relaxing vacation or a lengthy trip for work, traveling means making preparations for your home comfort system. You can't use it while you’re on a trip, so you can adjust it as necessary to conserve your energy use. At the same time, you don’t want to just turn it off for the entire time you're gone.
For the most part, it’s best to leave your HVAC system on and adjust the temperature depending on the time of year. That way you can minimize energy costs without worrying about returning to an uncomfortable home. We’ll review why you should leave your HVAC system on as well as the ideal thermostat settings for summer and winter.
Here’s Why You Shouldn’t Leave Your Thermostat on Hold
While you may be tempted to leave your HVAC system off before a trip, this can end up causing annoying problems by the time you come back. This is particularly true if the weather will be severely hot or cold while you’re away from home.
For instance, shutting the HVAC system off in the summer will sometimes lead to very high humidity. Not only will your home feel muggy and uncomfortable when you come back, but it might have also encouraged mold/mildew growth or pest infestations.
And over the winter, leaving the furnace off could lead to pipes freezing up or even bursting. It’s exhausting to come home from a long trip only to come across extensive water damage near a broken pipe.
Best Thermostat Settings While at Work
You can make temperature adjustments even when you're just going to work. Considering you’re away for 8 hours or more, it doesn’t make sense to keep an empty home heated or cooled as if you were there. As a general rule, it’s suggested to raise the thermostat by 5 degrees or so. That means that if you prefer a comfortable 72 degrees, try increasing it to 76-77 while you’re gone.
But you can save even more if you're open to further adjusting the temperature. As stated by the Department of Energy, you may save around 10% on your HVAC expenses by making an adjustment of 7-10 degrees.
Best Thermostat Settings While on a Trip in Summer
If you leave for a lengthier trip in the heart of summer, you can make larger adjustments. This ensures you don’t waste energy while still protecting your home from the hassles that come with leaving it uncooled. About 5 degrees is recommended for short trips while closer to 10 degrees is best if you’ll be away from home for 2 weeks or more. If you prefer keeping the house at 72 in the summer, 78-82 can offer beneficial results.
Ideal Thermostat Settings While On a Trip in Winter
To try and find the best thermostat setting for a winter trip, 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 restricting how long your furnace operates.
A Smart Thermostat Can Help: Benefits of a Smart Thermostat
A great way to manage your home’s HVAC system while away is with a smart thermostat. This special type of programmable thermostat uses intelligent software to understand your preferred comfort habits. It gradually understands these preferences and makes automatic corrections to the schedule for higher energy efficiency. And with Wi-Fi integration, you can remotely access your heating and cooling using a smartphone or tablet.
Smart thermostats are packed with features to help you save on your energy bill. For instance, some models can monitor electricity prices to increase heating or cooling when prices are lowest. They can also work with high-efficiency, variable-speed equipment to fine-tune how long your HVAC system has to run. It’s the optimal tool to streamline how you use your comfort system. If you’re planning on investing in a smart thermostat, there are multiple ways you can bring down your costs, effectively getting a smart thermostat for free. The next time you leave for vacation, you can appreciate true peace of mind that your HVAC system won’t cause any trouble while you’re away.