Whether it’s a relaxing vacation or a long trip for work, taking a trip means making plans for your HVAC system. You won’t be using it as long as you’re on a trip, so you can adjust the temperature as necessary to conserve your energy use. Just the same, you don’t want to just leave it off for the entire time you're gone.
Instead, it’s best to leave your HVAC system on and adjust the temperature depending on the time of year. That way you can reduce energy costs without stressing about coming back to an uncomfortable home. We’ll review why you should avoid turning your HVAC system off as well as the most energy-efficient thermostat settings for summer and winter.
Here’s Why You Don't Leave Your Thermostat on Hold
While you could be tempted to turn your HVAC system off before a trip, this will sometimes end up leading to costly problems by the time you come back. This is particularly true when the weather will be severely hot or cold while you’re gone.
For example, switching the HVAC system down in the summer could lead to very high humidity. Not only will your home feel gross when you return, but it might have also encouraged mold/mildew growth or pest infestations.
And in the winter, letting your house get cold might lead to pipes freezing or even bursting. It’s exhausting to come home from a long trip only to discover considerable water damage near a broken pipe.
Ideal Thermostat Settings While at Work
You can optimize the temperature even as you come and go to work. Considering you’re away for 8 hours or more, it doesn’t seem sensible to keep an empty home the same temperature as when you're home. In general, it’s recommended to adjust the thermostat by 5 degrees or more. Meaning that if you prefer a comfortable 72 degrees, consider raising it to 76-77 while you’re gone.
But you could save even more if you're open to further adjusting the temperature. As reported by the Department of Energy, you may save around 10% on your HVAC spending by making an adjustment of 7-10 degrees.
Ideal Thermostat Settings While on Vacation in Summer
If you’re leaving for a lengthier trip in the hottest part of summer, you can make bigger adjustments. This prevents wasting energy while still defending your home from the problems that come with leaving it uncooled. Something like 5 degrees is recommended for shorter trips while around 10 degrees is worthwhile if you’ll be out of town for 2 weeks or more. If you enjoy keeping the house at 72 in the summer, 78-82 can offer beneficial results.
Ideal Thermostat Settings While on Vacation in Winter
To determine the best thermostat setting for a winter getaway, consider lowering the temperature by the same amount you would raise it in summer. 68 is a common winter thermostat setting, so lowering it to 63-58 will protect your plumbing while minimizing how often your furnace operates.
A Smart Thermostat Can Help: Benefits 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 innovative type of programmable thermostat employs intelligent software to understand your typical comfort habits. It applies these preferences and makes automatic corrections to the schedule for maximum energy efficiency. And with Wi-Fi integration, you can remotely adjust your heating and cooling from a mobile device or tablet.
Smart thermostats are stuffed with features to help you save energy and lower costs. To provide an example, certain models can track electricity prices to boost heating or cooling when prices are lower. They can be used with high-efficiency, variable-speed equipment to optimize how long your HVAC system needs to run. It’s the perfect tool to streamline how you control your comfort system. If you’re considering investing in a smart thermostat, there are a variety of ways you can lower your costs, in essence 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 gone.