Whether it’s a relaxing vacation or a lengthy trip for work, traveling means making preparations for your home comfort system. You don't need it while you’re on a trip, so you can adjust the temperature as necessary to conserve your energy use. At the same time, you don’t want to just shut it down for the entire time you're out of the house.
Instead, it’s better to leave your HVAC system going and adjust the temperature depending on the season. That way you can lower energy costs without worrying about getting 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 summer and winter.
Here’s Why You Shouldn’t Leave Your Thermostat on Hold
While you may be inclined to shut your HVAC system down before a trip, this could end up causing costly problems by the time you return. This is notably true if the weather will be severely hot or cold while you’re gone.
For instance, turning the HVAC system down during the summer will sometimes produce very high humidity. Not only will your home feel gross when you have returned, but it could have also encouraged 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 never fun to get home from a nice trip only to discover extensive water damage nearby a broken pipe.
Ideal Thermostat Settings While at Work
You can optimize the temperature even when you're just going 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. Generally, it’s encouraged to adjust the thermostat by 5 degrees or more. That means that if you prefer a comfortable 72 degrees, consider increasing it to 76-77 while you’re out.
But you could save even more if you try further adjustments to the temperature. As stated by the Department of Energy, you could save about 10% on your HVAC spending by increasing the adjustment to 7-10 degrees.
Best Thermostat Settings While on Vacation in Summer
If you leave for a longer trip in the middle of summer, you can make more significant adjustments. This prevents wasting energy while still safeguarding your home from the hassles that come with leaving it un-air conditioned. Something like 5 degrees is recommended for brief trips while around 10 degrees is worthwhile if you’ll be gone for 2 weeks or longer. If you like keeping the house at 72 in the summer, 78-82 will offer the best results.
Best Thermostat Settings While on Vacation in Winter
To figure out the ideal thermostat setting for a winter vacation, consider lowering the temperature 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 keep your plumbing safe while minimizing how long your furnace runs.
A Smart Thermostat Can Help: Advantages of a Smart Thermostat
One of the best ways to manage your home’s HVAC system while away is using a smart thermostat. This innovative type of programmable thermostat uses intelligent software to track your typical comfort habits. It applies these preferences and makes automatic changes to the schedule for maximum energy efficiency. And with Wi-Fi compatibility, you can remotely control your heating and cooling with a smart device like a phone or tablet.
Smart thermostats are loaded with features to help you save on your energy bill. For instance, some models can observe electricity prices to increase heating or cooling when prices are more affordable. They can also work with high-efficiency, variable-speed equipment to fine-tune how long your HVAC system has to run. It’s the ideal tool to enhance how you use your comfort system. If you’re thinking about investing in a smart thermostat, there are multiple ways you can bring down your costs, essentially 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 stir up any trouble while you’re gone.