From a tropical vacation or a lengthy trip for work, traveling means making plans for your home comfort system. You won’t be using it as long as you’re away, so you can make adjustments as appropriate to limit your energy use. Simultaneously, you don’t want to just leave 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 adjust the temperature depending on whether it's winter or summer. That way you can lower energy costs without worrying about coming back to an uncomfortable home. We’ll walk you through why you should leave your HVAC system on as well as the most energy-efficient thermostat settings for various times of year.
Here’s Why You Don't Leave Your Thermostat Alone
While you might be inclined to turn your HVAC system off before a trip, this will sometimes end up causing costly problems by the time you get back. This is notably true if the weather will be severely hot or cold while you’re away from home.
For instance, turning the HVAC system down in the summer can produce very high humidity. Not only will your home feel muggy and uncomfortable when you come back, but it may have also invited mold/mildew growth or pest infestations.
And during the winter, leaving the furnace off could lead to pipes freezing or even bursting. It’s an awful feeling to come home from a long trip only to find considerable water damage nearby a broken pipe.
Best Thermostat Settings While at Work
You can adjust the temperature even as you come and go to work. Since you’re out of the house for around 8 hours or so, it doesn’t make sense to keep an empty home the same temperature as when you're home. In general, it’s encouraged to turn up the thermostat by 5 degrees or so. This means that if you prefer a comfortable 72 degrees, try raising it to 76-77 while you’re out.
But you could save even more if you’re willing to further adjust the temperature. According to the Department of Energy, you could save around 10% on your HVAC expenses by increasing the adjustment to 7-10 degrees.
Ideal Thermostat Settings While on Vacation in Summer
If you’re leaving for an extended trip in the middle of summer, you can make larger adjustments. This prevents wasting energy while still protecting your home from the hassles that come with leaving it without air conditioning. Something like 5 degrees is suitable for short trips while closer to 10 degrees is best if you’ll be gone for 2 weeks or more. If you enjoy keeping the house at 72 in the summer, 78-82 will offer great results.
Recommended Thermostat Settings While On a Trip in Winter
To figure out 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 turning it down to 63-58 will prevent ice from forming on pipes while limiting how often your furnace runs.
Smart Thermostats Are Even Better: Benefits of a Smart Thermostat
A great way to manage your home’s HVAC system while out of the house is with a smart thermostat. This advanced type of programmable thermostat utilizes intelligent software to monitor your typical comfort habits. It learns these preferences and makes automatic corrections to the schedule for higher energy efficiency. And with Wi-Fi integration, you can remotely access your HVAC system using a smart device like a phone or tablet.
Smart thermostats are packed 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 lowest. They are compatible with high-efficiency, variable-speed equipment to refine how long your HVAC system should run. It’s the optimal tool to enhance how you control your comfort system. If you’re planning on investing in a smart thermostat, there are a variety of ways you can lower your costs, essentially getting a smart thermostat for free. The next time you leave for vacation, you can receive true peace of mind that your HVAC system won’t cause any trouble while you’re away.