Whether it’s a relaxing vacation or an extended trip for work, leaving home means making plans for your home comfort system. You can't use it while you’re not home, so you can make adjustments as needed to minimize your energy use. Simultaneously, you shouldn't just shut it down for the entire time you're gone.
In general, it’s best to leave your HVAC system running and just make adjustments depending on the time of year. That way you can reduce energy costs without worrying about coming back to an uncomfortable home. We’ll explain why you shouldn’t turn 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 shut your HVAC system down 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 out of town.
For example, shutting the HVAC system down during the summer will sometimes cause very high humidity. Not only will your home feel like a swamp when you return, but it might have also invited mold/mildew growth or pest infestations.
And during the winter, letting your house get cold could lead to pipes freezing up or even bursting. It’s never fun to come home from a vacation only to come across considerable water damage close to a broken pipe.
Energy-Efficient Thermostat Settings While at Work
You can make temperature adjustments even when you're just going to work. Since you’re not home for around 8 hours or so, it doesn’t make sense to keep an empty home the same temperature as when you're home. Generally, it’s recommended to raise the thermostat by 5 degrees or more. This means that if you prefer a comfortable 72 degrees, think about adjusting it to 76-77 while you’re out.
But you may save even more if you try further adjustments to the temperature. As reported by the Department of Energy, you could 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 hottest part of summer, you can make bigger adjustments. This prevents wasting energy while still protecting your home from the hassles that come with leaving it un-air conditioned. Around 5 degrees is appropriate for shorter trips while closer to 10 degrees is best if you’ll be away from home for 2 weeks or longer. If you prefer keeping the house at 72 in the summer, 78-82 can offer great results.
Recommended Thermostat Settings While Away from Home in Winter
To determine the most energy-efficient thermostat setting for a winter vacation, 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 keep your plumbing safe while restricting how often your furnace operates.
A Smart Thermostat Can Help: Advantages of a Smart Thermostat
One of the best ways to optimize your home’s HVAC system while away is by investing in a smart thermostat. This advanced type of programmable thermostat utilizes intelligent software to track your preferred 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 control your HVAC system from a mobile device or tablet.
Smart thermostats are stuffed with features to help you save even more. For example, specific models can track electricity prices to boost heating or cooling when prices are lower. They are compatible with high-efficiency, variable-speed equipment to optimize how long your HVAC system has to run. It’s the ideal tool to enhance how you use your comfort system. If you’re planning on investing in a smart thermostat, there are a variety of ways you can reduce your costs, in essence getting a smart thermostat for free. The next time you are away from home, you can enjoy true peace of mind that your HVAC system won’t stir up any trouble while you’re away.