Whether it’s a relaxing vacation or an extended trip for work, traveling means making plans for your home comfort system. You don't need it as long as you’re on a trip, so you can make adjustments as needed to limit your energy use. Simultaneously, you shouldn't just turn it off for the entire time you're gone.
For the most part, it’s best to leave your HVAC system going and adjust the temperature depending on whether it's winter or summer. That way you can minimize energy costs without stressing about returning to an uncomfortable home. We’ll walk you through why you should leave your HVAC system on as well as the ideal thermostat settings for various times of year.
Here’s Why You Don't Leave Your Thermostat on Hold
While you might be inclined to leave your HVAC system off before a trip, this could end up leading to costly problems by the time you get back. This is especially true in case the weather will be severely hot or cold while you’re away from home.
For instance, turning the HVAC system down during the summer will sometimes lead to very high humidity. Not only will your home feel muggy and uncomfortable when you come back, 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 come home from a nice trip only to find substantial water damage close to a broken pipe.
Best Thermostat Settings While at Work
You can make temperature adjustments even if you’re coming and going to work. Because 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. In general, it’s recommended to adjust the thermostat by 5 degrees or so. That means that if you prefer a comfortable 72 degrees, think about 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 may save around 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 leaving for a longer trip in the middle of summer, you can make bigger adjustments. This prevents wasting energy while still protecting your home from the hassles that come with leaving it un-air conditioned. About 5 degrees is recommended for shorter trips while closer to 10 degrees is ideal if you’ll be gone for 2 weeks or longer. If you enjoy keeping the house at 72 in the summer, 78-82 can offer great results.
Ideal Thermostat Settings While On a Trip in Winter
To figure out the best thermostat setting for a winter vacation, simply lower it by the same amount you would increase it in summer. 68 is a popular winter thermostat setting, so lowering it to 63-58 will protect your plumbing while minimizing how often your furnace operates.
A Smart Thermostat Can Help: Perks of a Smart Thermostat
One of the best ways to manage your home’s HVAC system while out of the house is with a smart thermostat. This special type of programmable thermostat employs intelligent software to track your preferred comfort habits. It learns these preferences and makes automatic changes to the schedule for higher energy efficiency. And with Wi-Fi integration, you can remotely access your HVAC system with a smartphone or tablet.
Smart thermostats are stuffed with features to help you save energy and lower costs. For instance, certain models can observe electricity prices to bolster heating or cooling when prices are lower. They can be used with high-efficiency, variable-speed equipment to fine-tune how long your HVAC system needs to run. It’s the optimal tool to enhance how you use your comfort system. If you’re planning on investing in a smart thermostat, there are a variety of ways you can reduce 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 cause any trouble while you’re gone.