Whether it’s a tropical vacation or a lengthy trip for work, traveling means making plans for your home comfort system. You won’t be using it if you’re away, so you can adjust it as needed to minimize your energy use. Just the same, you shouldn't just shut it down for the entire time you're gone.
Instead, it’s ideal 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 worrying about returning to an uncomfortable home. We’ll review why you should avoid turning your HVAC system off as well as the ideal 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 could end up causing costly problems by the time you come back. This is notably true when the weather will be severely hot or cold while you’re out of town.
For instance, turning the HVAC system off during the summer could lead to very high humidity. Not only will your home feel like a swamp when you return, but it may have also encouraged mold/mildew growth or pest infestations.
And during the winter, leaving the furnace off will sometimes lead to pipes freezing up or even bursting. It’s an awful feeling to come home from a vacation only to discover extensive water damage close to a broken pipe.
Energy-Efficient Thermostat Settings While at Work
You can adjust the temperature even as you come and go to work. Considering you’re away for around 8 hours or so, it doesn’t help your monthly energy bill to keep an empty home the same temperature as when you're home. In general, it’s recommended to raise the thermostat by 5 degrees or more. Meaning that if you prefer a comfortable 72 degrees, try adjusting it to 76-77 while you’re out.
But you could save even more if you’re willing to further adjust the temperature. As stated by the Department of Energy, you may save around 10% on your HVAC spending by raising the temperature by about 7-10 degrees.
Energy-Efficient Thermostat Settings While Away from Home in Summer
If you leave for a longer trip in the hottest part of summer, you can make more significant adjustments. This prevents wasting energy while still protecting your home from the hassles that come with leaving it without air conditioning. About 5 degrees is recommended for brief trips while around 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 will offer beneficial results.
Best Thermostat Settings While on Vacation in Winter
To figure out the best thermostat setting for a winter trip, just lower the temperature by the same amount you would raise it in summer. 68 is a popular winter thermostat setting, so lowering it to 63-58 will protect your plumbing while restricting how frequently your furnace runs.
A Smart Thermostat Can Help: Perks of a Smart Thermostat
An ideal strategy to manage your home’s HVAC system while away from home is with a smart thermostat. This advanced type of programmable thermostat utilizes intelligent software to understand your usual comfort habits. It gradually understands these preferences and makes automatic adjustments to the schedule for higher energy efficiency. And with Wi-Fi integration, you can remotely control your heating and cooling using a smartphone or tablet.
Smart thermostats are loaded with features to help you save on your energy bill. For instance, certain models can monitor electricity prices to bolster heating or cooling when prices are lowest. They can be used with high-efficiency, variable-speed equipment to refine how long your HVAC system has to run. It’s the optimal tool to streamline how you control your comfort system. If you’re thinking about 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 appreciate true peace of mind that your HVAC system won’t stir up any trouble while you’re away from home.