From a much-needed vacation or a lengthy trip for work, taking a trip means making plans for your home comfort system. You won’t be using it as long as you’re on a trip, so you can adjust the temperature as necessary to minimize your energy use. Just the same, you shouldn't just turn it off for the entire time you're gone.
For the most part, it’s ideal to leave your HVAC system running and just raise or lower depending on the time of year. That way you can reduce energy costs without having to worry about getting back to an uncomfortable home. We’ll review why you should avoid turning your HVAC system off as well as the best thermostat settings for summer and winter.
Here’s Why You Shouldn’t Leave Your Thermostat on Hold
While you might be tempted to turn your HVAC system off before a trip, this could end up leading to big problems by the time you get back. This is particularly true in case the weather will be severely hot or cold while you’re away from home.
For instance, turning the HVAC system off during the summer can cause very high humidity. Not only will your home feel gross when you have returned, but it may have also encouraged mold/mildew growth or pest infestations.
And during the winter, leaving the furnace off could lead to pipes icing over or even bursting. It’s never fun to return home from a vacation only to come across substantial water damage close to a broken pipe.
Best Thermostat Settings While at Work
You can adjust the temperature even when you're just going to work. Considering you’re out of the house for about 8 hours or longer, it doesn’t help your monthly energy bill to keep an empty home heated or cooled as if you were there. As a general rule, it’s encouraged to adjust the thermostat by 5 degrees or more. This means that if you prefer a comfortable 72 degrees, consider increasing it to 76-77 while you’re at work.
But you can save even more if you're open to further adjusting the temperature. According to the Department of Energy, you might save about 10% on your HVAC costs by increasing the adjustment to 7-10 degrees.
Best Thermostat Settings While Away from Home in Summer
If you're on a lengthier trip in the middle of summer, you can make larger adjustments. This ensures you don’t waste energy while still safeguarding your home from the problems that come with leaving it un-air conditioned. About 5 degrees is appropriate for shorter trips while around 10 degrees is best 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.
Best Thermostat Settings While on Vacation in Winter
To figure out the best thermostat setting for a winter trip, simply lower it by the same amount you would adjust it in summer. 68 is a common winter thermostat setting, so lowering it to 63-58 will keep your plumbing safe while minimizing how often your furnace runs.
A Smart Thermostat Can Help: Perks of a Smart Thermostat
One of the best ways to optimize your home’s HVAC system while away is with a smart thermostat. This advanced type of programmable thermostat uses intelligent software to monitor your typical comfort habits. It gradually understands these preferences and makes automatic changes to the schedule for better energy efficiency. And with Wi-Fi integration, you can remotely control your heating and cooling from a smart device like a phone or tablet.
Smart thermostats are stuffed with features to help you save energy and lower costs. For example, specific models can monitor electricity prices to increase heating or cooling when prices are lower. They are compatible with high-efficiency, variable-speed equipment to refine how long your HVAC system needs to run. It’s the ideal tool to streamline how you use your comfort system. If you’re considering investing in a smart thermostat, there are multiple ways you can reduce your costs, in essence getting a smart thermostat for free. The next time you leave for vacation, you can appreciate true peace of mind that your HVAC system won’t cause any trouble while you’re away from home.