Whether it’s a tropical vacation or a long trip for work, traveling means making plans for your home comfort system. You can't use it as long as you’re on a trip, so you can adjust it as needed to minimize your energy use. At the same time, you don’t want to just leave it off for the entire duration of your trip.
Instead, it’s better to leave your HVAC system running and just raise or lower depending on the time of year. That way you can minimize energy costs without stressing about returning to an uncomfortable home. We’ll explain why you should leave your HVAC system on as well as the best thermostat settings for summer and winter.
Here’s Why You Don't Leave Your Thermostat on Hold
While you may be inclined to leave your HVAC system off before a trip, this will sometimes end up stirring up big problems by the time you return. This is notably 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 produce very high humidity. Not only will your home feel muggy and uncomfortable when you come back, but it may have also stimulated mold/mildew growth or pest infestations.
And in the winter, not using the furnace will sometimes lead to pipes freezing or even bursting. It’s never fun to get home from a nice trip only to discover considerable water damage close to a broken pipe.
Energy-Efficient Thermostat Settings While at Work
You can optimize the temperature even if you’re coming and going to work. Considering you’re not home for 8 hours or more, it doesn’t help your monthly energy bill to keep an empty home the same temperature as when you're home. As a general rule, it’s recommended to turn up the thermostat by 5 degrees or so. This means that if you prefer a comfortable 72 degrees, consider adjusting it to 76-77 while you’re out.
But you could save even more if you're open to further adjusting the temperature. As stated by the Department of Energy, you may save about 10% on your HVAC costs by raising the temperature by about 7-10 degrees.
Energy-Efficient Thermostat Settings While on a Trip in Summer
If you're on a longer trip in the heart of summer, you can make larger adjustments. This helps you avoid using too much energy while still safeguarding your home from the issues that come with leaving it uncooled. Around 5 degrees is suitable for brief trips while a larger adjustment of 10 degrees is ideal if you’ll be away from home for 2 weeks or longer. If you prefer keeping the house at 72 in the summer, 78-82 will offer beneficial results.
Ideal Thermostat Settings While Away from Home in Winter
To determine the best 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 lowering it to 63-58 will protect your plumbing while limiting how often your furnace operates.
A Smart Thermostat Can Help: Advantages of a Smart Thermostat
One of the best ways to regulate your home’s HVAC system while away from home is by investing in a smart thermostat. This advanced type of programmable thermostat employs intelligent software to understand your preferred comfort habits. It gradually understands these preferences and makes automatic corrections to the schedule for maximum energy efficiency. And with Wi-Fi compatibility, you can remotely adjust your HVAC system using a smartphone or tablet.
Smart thermostats are stuffed with features to help you save even more. To provide an example, specific 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 refine how long your HVAC system has to run. It’s the ideal tool to enhance how you control your comfort system. If you’re planning on investing in a smart thermostat, there are multiple ways you can reduce your costs, in essence 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 gone.