Whether it’s a much-needed vacation or an extended trip for work, taking a trip means making preparations for your home comfort system. You won’t be using it while you’re not home, so you can adjust it as needed to minimize your energy use. At the same time, you shouldn't just leave it off for the entire time you're gone.
For the most part, it’s best to leave your HVAC system running and just make adjustments depending on the season. That way you can lower energy costs without having to worry about coming back 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 Avoid Leaving Your Thermostat on Hold
While you may be wanting to shut your HVAC system down before a trip, this can end up causing annoying problems by the time you return. This is notably true if the weather will be severely hot or cold while you’re out of town.
For example, shutting the HVAC system down during the summer can lead to very high humidity. Not only will your home feel muggy and uncomfortable when you return, but it may have also stimulated mold/mildew growth or pest infestations.
And over the winter, leaving the furnace off will sometimes lead to pipes freezing or even bursting. It’s an awful feeling to return home from a nice trip only to discover substantial water damage near a broken pipe.
Ideal Thermostat Settings While at Work
You can adjust the temperature even as you come and go to work. Considering you’re not home for about 8 hours or longer, it doesn’t seem sensible to keep an empty home at the same temperature you’d usually have. Generally, it’s suggested to raise the thermostat by 5 degrees or more. That means that if you prefer a comfortable 72 degrees, consider increasing it to 76-77 while you’re at work.
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 expenses by raising the temperature by about 7-10 degrees.
Best Thermostat Settings While on Vacation in Summer
If you’re leaving for a longer trip in the heart of summer, you can make bigger adjustments. This helps you avoid using too much energy while still protecting your home from the hassles that come with leaving it un-air conditioned. About 5 degrees is recommended for shorter trips while closer to 10 degrees is best if you’ll be out of town for 2 weeks or more. If you like keeping the house at 72 in the summer, 78-82 can offer beneficial results.
Ideal Thermostat Settings While on Vacation in Winter
To figure out the best thermostat setting for a winter trip, consider lowering the temperature by the same amount you would increase it in summer. 68 is a common winter thermostat setting, so lowering it to 63-58 will prevent ice from forming on pipes while limiting 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 from home is with a smart thermostat. This advanced type of programmable thermostat employs intelligent software to monitor your preferred comfort habits. It gradually understands these preferences and makes automatic corrections to the schedule for higher energy efficiency. And with Wi-Fi compatibility, you can remotely control your heating and cooling from a smart device like a phone or tablet.
Smart thermostats are packed with features to help you save energy and lower costs. For example, certain models can observe electricity prices to bolster heating or cooling when prices are more affordable. They are compatible with high-efficiency, variable-speed equipment to refine how long your HVAC system has to run. It’s the ideal tool to enhance how you control your comfort system. If you’re thinking about 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 are away from home, you can receive true peace of mind that your HVAC system won’t cause any trouble while you’re gone.