Whether it’s a tropical vacation or a lengthy trip for work, taking a trip means making plans for your HVAC system. You don't need it as long as you’re on a trip, so you can adjust it as appropriate to minimize your energy use. Just the same, you don’t want to just shut it down for the entire duration of your trip.
For the most part, it’s best to leave your HVAC system on and just raise or lower depending on the time of year. That way you can lower energy costs without having to worry about getting back to an uncomfortable home. We’ll walk you through why you should avoid turning your HVAC system off as well as the ideal thermostat settings for different times of year.
Here’s Why You Avoid Leaving Your Thermostat on Hold
While you may be tempted to leave your HVAC system off before a trip, this can end up leading to costly problems by the time you get back. This is particularly true in case the weather will be severely hot or cold while you’re out of town.
For example, switching the HVAC system off during the summer could cause 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, not using the furnace can lead to pipes freezing or even bursting. It’s never fun to come home from a nice trip only to find extensive water damage near a broken pipe.
Ideal Thermostat Settings While at Work
You can optimize the temperature even when you're just going to work. Because you’re out of the house for about 8 hours or longer, it doesn’t make sense to keep an empty home at the same temperature you’d usually have. As a general rule, it’s suggested to adjust the thermostat by 5 degrees or more. Meaning that if you prefer a comfortable 72 degrees, try increasing it to 76-77 while you’re at work.
But you can save even more if you’re willing to further adjust the temperature. As stated by the Department of Energy, you might save around 10% on your HVAC spending by making an adjustment of 7-10 degrees.
Ideal Thermostat Settings While on a Trip in Summer
If you’re leaving for a lengthier trip in the hottest part of summer, you can make larger adjustments. This prevents wasting energy while still safeguarding your home from the hassles that come with leaving it uncooled. About 5 degrees is recommended for brief trips while closer to 10 degrees is best if you’ll be gone 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 Vacation in Winter
To try and find the best thermostat setting for a winter vacation, simply lower it by the same amount you would raise it in summer. 68 is a popular winter thermostat setting, so lowering it to 63-58 will prevent ice from forming on pipes while minimizing how frequently your furnace operates.
A Smart Thermostat Can Help: Benefits of a Smart Thermostat
A great way to optimize your home’s HVAC system while away from home is with a smart thermostat. This advanced type of programmable thermostat employs intelligent software to monitor your typical comfort habits. It gradually understands these preferences and makes automatic adjustments to the schedule for maximum energy efficiency. And with Wi-Fi connectivity, you can remotely access your HVAC system with a smartphone or tablet.
Smart thermostats are packed with features to help you save even more. For instance, certain models can track electricity prices to boost heating or cooling when prices are more affordable. They can be used with high-efficiency, variable-speed equipment to optimize how long your HVAC system should run. It’s the optimal tool to simplify how you control your comfort system. If you’re planning on investing in a smart thermostat, there are different 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 receive true peace of mind that your HVAC system won’t stir up any trouble while you’re away.