From a much-needed vacation or a long trip for work, taking a trip means making preparations for your home comfort system. You won’t be using it while you’re away, so you can make adjustments as appropriate to conserve your energy use. Just the same, you don’t want to just leave it off for the entire duration of your trip.
In general, it’s ideal to leave your HVAC system on and adjust the temperature depending on the time of year. That way you can minimize energy costs without stressing about getting back to an uncomfortable home. We’ll explain why you shouldn’t turn your HVAC system off as well as the best thermostat settings for different times of year.
Here’s Why You Shouldn’t Leave Your Thermostat on Hold
While you could be tempted to leave your HVAC system off before a trip, this can end up leading to annoying problems by the time you get back. This is particularly true when the weather will be severely hot or cold while you’re gone.
For instance, shutting the HVAC system off during the summer will sometimes lead to very high humidity. Not only will your home feel gross when you come back, but it could have also stimulated mold/mildew growth or pest infestations.
And over the winter, not using the furnace can lead to pipes freezing or even bursting. It’s never fun to come home from a long trip only to discover considerable water damage near a broken pipe.
Best Thermostat Settings While at Work
You can optimize the temperature even when you're just going to work. Considering you’re not home for 8 hours or more, it doesn’t seem sensible to keep an empty home the same temperature as when you're home. Generally, it’s encouraged to adjust the thermostat by 5 degrees or so. Meaning that if you prefer a comfortable 72 degrees, try adjusting it to 76-77 while you’re gone.
But you could save even more if you're open to further adjusting the temperature. As stated by the Department of Energy, you might save nearly 10% on your HVAC costs by increasing the adjustment to 7-10 degrees.
Ideal Thermostat Settings While Away from Home in Summer
If you leave for a lengthier trip in the middle of summer, you can make larger adjustments. This ensures you don’t waste energy while still protecting your home from the problems that come with leaving it un-air conditioned. Something like 5 degrees is recommended for shorter trips while closer to 10 degrees is best if you’ll be away from home for 2 weeks or more. 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 ideal thermostat setting for a winter getaway, simply lower it by the same amount you would raise it in summer. 68 is a popular winter thermostat setting, so turning it down to 63-58 will protect your plumbing while limiting how often your furnace runs.
A Smart Thermostat Can Help: Benefits of a Smart Thermostat
A great way to regulate your home’s HVAC system while away from home is by investing in a smart thermostat. This innovative type of programmable thermostat employs intelligent software to understand your typical comfort habits. It learns these preferences and makes automatic adjustments to the schedule for better energy efficiency. And with Wi-Fi integration, you can remotely control your heating and cooling from a smart device like a phone or tablet.
Smart thermostats are loaded with features to help you save energy and lower costs. To provide an example, some models can observe electricity prices to boost heating or cooling when prices are lower. They can be used with high-efficiency, variable-speed equipment to refine how long your HVAC system has to run. It’s the ideal tool to streamline how you control your comfort system. If you’re considering investing in a smart thermostat, there are multiple 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 stir up any trouble while you’re away from home.