Between a tropical vacation or an extended trip for work, taking a trip means making preparations for your heating and cooling system. You won’t be using it as long as you’re not home, so you can make adjustments as needed to conserve your energy use. At the same time, you don’t want to just turn it off for the entire time you're out of the house.
For the most part, it’s better to leave your HVAC system going and just make adjustments depending on the season. That way you can minimize energy costs without worrying about returning to an uncomfortable home. We’ll walk you through why you shouldn’t turn 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 leave your HVAC system off before a trip, this can end up leading to big problems by the time you come back. This is especially true when the weather will be severely hot or cold while you’re away from home.
For example, shutting the HVAC system off in the summer can lead to 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 in the winter, leaving the furnace off will sometimes lead to pipes icing over or even bursting. It’s never fun to return home from a vacation only to discover considerable water damage near a broken pipe.
Best Thermostat Settings While at Work
You can optimize the temperature even as you come and go to work. Considering you’re not home for around 8 hours or so, it doesn’t help your monthly energy bill to keep an empty home at the same temperature you’d usually have. Generally, it’s recommended to adjust the thermostat by 5 degrees or so. That means that if you prefer a comfortable 72 degrees, consider raising it to 76-77 while you’re at work.
But you could save even more if you’re willing to further adjust the temperature. As reported by the Department of Energy, you could save nearly 10% on your HVAC spending by increasing the adjustment to 7-10 degrees.
Best Thermostat Settings While on a Trip in Summer
If you’re leaving for an extended trip in the middle of summer, you can make more significant adjustments. This ensures you don’t waste energy while still defending your home from the issues that come with leaving it uncooled. About 5 degrees is suitable for shorter trips while around 10 degrees is best if you’ll be out of town for 2 weeks or longer. If you prefer keeping the house at 72 in the summer, 78-82 should offer the best results.
Recommended Thermostat Settings While On a Trip in Winter
To try and find the best thermostat setting for a winter getaway, consider lowering the temperature by the same amount you would increase it in summer. 68 is a common winter thermostat setting, so lowering it to 63-58 will protect your plumbing while restricting how long your furnace operates.
A Smart Thermostat Can Help: Advantages of a Smart Thermostat
An ideal strategy to optimize your home’s HVAC system while away from home is with a smart thermostat. This special type of programmable thermostat employs intelligent software to monitor your preferred comfort habits. It gradually understands these preferences and makes automatic corrections to the schedule for better energy efficiency. And with Wi-Fi compatibility, you can remotely adjust your heating and cooling from a smartphone or tablet.
Smart thermostats are loaded with features to help you save energy and lower costs. For instance, some models can track electricity prices to boost heating or cooling when prices are lower. They can also work with high-efficiency, variable-speed equipment to fine-tune how long your HVAC system has to run. It’s the perfect tool to simplify 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 enjoy true peace of mind that your HVAC system won’t cause any trouble while you’re away.