Whether it’s a tropical vacation or an extended trip for work, leaving home means making preparations for your heating and cooling system. You can't use it if you’re not home, so you can adjust the temperature as needed to minimize your energy use. Just the same, you don’t want to just turn it off for the entire time you're out of the house.
Instead, it’s best to leave your HVAC system going and just make adjustments depending on whether it's winter or summer. That way you can reduce energy costs without stressing about getting 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 summer and winter.
Here’s Why You Shouldn’t Leave Your Thermostat on Hold
While you could be wanting to turn your HVAC system off before a trip, this could end up stirring up costly problems by the time you get back. This is especially true if the weather will be severely hot or cold while you’re out of town.
For example, shutting the HVAC system off in the summer can produce very high humidity. Not only will your home feel gross when you have returned, but it might have also invited mold/mildew growth or pest infestations.
And in the winter, letting your house get cold will sometimes lead to pipes freezing or even bursting. It’s exhausting to get home from a vacation only to discover substantial water damage close to a broken pipe.
Energy-Efficient Thermostat Settings While at Work
You can optimize the temperature even if you’re coming and going to work. Considering you’re out of the house for about 8 hours or longer, it doesn’t make sense to keep an empty home heated or cooled as if you were there. Generally, it’s suggested to adjust the thermostat by 5 degrees or more. Meaning that if you prefer a comfortable 72 degrees, try raising it to 76-77 while you’re at work.
But you may save even more if you’re willing to further adjust the temperature. As reported by the Department of Energy, you may save nearly 10% on your HVAC expenses by making an adjustment of 7-10 degrees.
Energy-Efficient Thermostat Settings While on a Trip in Summer
If you leave for an extended trip in the middle of summer, you can make more significant adjustments. This prevents wasting energy while still protecting your home from the problems that come with leaving it without air conditioning. About 5 degrees is suitable for brief trips while around 10 degrees is best if you’ll be away from home for 2 weeks or longer. If you like keeping the house at 72 in the summer, 78-82 will offer the best results.
Ideal Thermostat Settings While Away from Home in Winter
To try and find the ideal thermostat setting for a winter trip, consider lowering the temperature by the same amount you would increase it in summer. 68 is a frequent winter thermostat setting, so lowering it to 63-58 will prevent ice from forming on pipes while minimizing how long your furnace runs.
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 by investing in a smart thermostat. This innovative type of programmable thermostat employs intelligent software to understand your usual comfort habits. It applies these preferences and makes automatic adjustments to the schedule for maximum energy efficiency. And with Wi-Fi compatibility, you can remotely control your heating and cooling from a mobile device or tablet.
Smart thermostats are stuffed with features to help you save even more. For instance, some models can monitor electricity prices to boost heating or cooling when prices are lowest. They can also work with high-efficiency, variable-speed equipment to optimize how long your HVAC system should run. It’s the ideal tool to enhance how you use your comfort system. If you’re thinking about investing in a smart thermostat, there are multiple ways you can bring down your costs, effectively 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.