Between a tropical vacation or a lengthy trip for work, leaving home means making plans for your home comfort system. You won’t be using it while you’re away, so you can adjust the temperature as appropriate to conserve your energy use. At the same time, you don’t want to just leave it off for the entire duration of your trip.
In general, it’s best to leave your HVAC system running and just make adjustments depending on the time of year. That way you can reduce energy costs without having to worry about coming back to an uncomfortable home. We’ll review why you should avoid turning your HVAC system off as well as the ideal thermostat settings for various times of year.
This Is Why You Shouldn’t Leave Your Thermostat on Hold
While you might be inclined to turn your HVAC system off before a trip, this can end up causing big 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.
As an example, shutting the HVAC system off during the summer can lead to very high humidity. Not only will your home feel like a swamp when you have returned, but it could have also invited mold/mildew growth or pest infestations.
And over the winter, not using the furnace will sometimes lead to pipes freezing up or even bursting. It’s exhausting to return home from a vacation only to find substantial water damage nearby a broken pipe.
Best Thermostat Settings While at Work
You can make temperature adjustments even as you come and go to work. Since you’re out of the house 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 more. This means that if you prefer a comfortable 72 degrees, think about adjusting it to 76-77 while you’re at work.
But you could save even more if you’re willing to further adjust the temperature. According to the Department of Energy, you could save nearly 10% on your HVAC costs by making an adjustment of 7-10 degrees.
Energy-Efficient Thermostat Settings While Away from Home in Summer
If you're on a longer trip in the heart of summer, you can make more significant adjustments. This ensures you don’t waste energy while still defending your home from the hassles that come with leaving it without air conditioning. Something like 5 degrees is appropriate for brief trips while closer to 10 degrees is ideal if you’ll be out of town for 2 weeks or more. If you enjoy keeping the house at 72 in the summer, 78-82 will offer the best results.
Ideal Thermostat Settings While On a Trip in Winter
To try and find the ideal thermostat setting for a winter getaway, simply lower it 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 minimizing how long your furnace runs.
Smart Thermostats Are Even Better: Benefits of Smart Thermostat Installation
An ideal strategy to regulate your home’s HVAC system while away is with a smart thermostat. This advanced type of programmable thermostat employs intelligent software to monitor your preferred comfort habits. It learns these preferences and makes automatic changes to the schedule for better energy efficiency. And with Wi-Fi connectivity, you can remotely access your HVAC system using a smart device like a phone or tablet.
Smart thermostats are loaded with features to help you save energy and lower costs. For instance, specific models can track electricity prices to bolster heating or cooling when prices are lower. They are compatible with high-efficiency, variable-speed equipment to optimize how long your HVAC system has to run. It’s the optimal tool to enhance 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, essentially 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 away.