Whether it’s a much-needed vacation or an extended trip for work, taking a trip means making plans for your home comfort system. You can't use it as long as you’re away, so you can adjust it as needed to limit your energy use. Just the same, you don’t want to just leave it off for the entire time you're out of the house.
In general, it’s ideal to leave your HVAC system going and just make adjustments depending on the time of year. That way you can lower energy costs without having to worry about getting back to an uncomfortable home. We’ll review why you shouldn’t turn your HVAC system off as well as the most energy-efficient thermostat settings for different times of year.
Here’s Why You Shouldn’t Leave Your Thermostat on Hold
While you might be tempted to leave your HVAC system off before a trip, this can end up leading to annoying problems by the time you come back. This is especially true in case the weather will be severely hot or cold while you’re out of town.
As an example, switching the HVAC system off during the summer could produce very high humidity. Not only will your home feel muggy and uncomfortable when you have returned, but it might have also invited mold/mildew growth or pest infestations.
And during the winter, not using the furnace can lead to pipes icing over or even bursting. It’s exhausting to get home from a long trip only to find substantial water damage near a broken pipe.
Ideal Thermostat Settings While at Work
You can adjust the temperature even if you’re coming and going to work. Considering you’re out of the house for 8 hours or more, it doesn’t make sense to keep an empty home heated or cooled as if you were there. In general, 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 may save even more if you're open to further adjusting the temperature. As reported by the Department of Energy, you may save about 10% on your HVAC costs by raising the temperature by about 7-10 degrees.
Best Thermostat Settings While Away from Home in Summer
If you're on a longer trip in the hottest part of summer, you can make larger adjustments. This ensures you don’t waste energy while still safeguarding your home from the issues that come with leaving it uncooled. Around 5 degrees is suitable for brief trips while closer to 10 degrees is best if you’ll be gone for 2 weeks or longer. If you like keeping the house at 72 in the summer, 78-82 will offer great results.
Ideal Thermostat Settings While On a Trip in Winter
To figure out the most energy-efficient thermostat setting for a winter getaway, just lower the temperature by the same amount you would increase it in summer. 68 is a popular winter thermostat setting, so turning it down to 63-58 will keep your plumbing safe while limiting how long your furnace operates.
A Smart Thermostat Can Help: Perks of a Smart Thermostat
One of the best ways to regulate your home’s HVAC system while out of the house is by investing in a smart thermostat. This special type of programmable thermostat uses intelligent software to monitor your typical comfort habits. It applies these preferences and makes automatic adjustments to the schedule for maximum energy efficiency. And with Wi-Fi connectivity, you can remotely control your HVAC system with a smart device like a phone or tablet.
Smart thermostats are stuffed with features to help you save on your energy bill. For example, specific models can monitor electricity prices to increase heating or cooling when prices are lowest. They can be used with high-efficiency, variable-speed equipment to refine how long your HVAC system needs to run. It’s the ideal tool to simplify how you use your comfort system. If you’re thinking about investing in a smart thermostat, there are multiple ways you can lower your costs, effectively 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 gone.