Between a much-needed vacation or a lengthy trip for work, traveling means making plans for your heating and cooling system. You won’t be using it if you’re not home, so you can make adjustments as needed to minimize your energy use. Just the same, you don’t want to just shut it down for the entire time you're gone.
Instead, it’s ideal to leave your HVAC system running and just make adjustments depending on whether it's winter or summer. That way you can reduce energy costs without stressing about coming back to an uncomfortable home. We’ll review 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 tempted to leave your HVAC system off before a trip, this will sometimes end up leading to annoying problems by the time you come back. This is especially true if the weather will be severely hot or cold while you’re away from home.
For example, switching the HVAC system down in the summer can lead to very high humidity. Not only will your home feel muggy and uncomfortable when you have returned, but it might have also stimulated mold/mildew growth or pest infestations.
And during the winter, not using the furnace might lead to pipes freezing or even bursting. It’s an awful feeling to come home from a nice trip only to find substantial water damage near a broken pipe.
Best Thermostat Settings While at Work
You can make temperature adjustments even when you're just going to work. Since you’re away for around 8 hours or so, it doesn’t help your monthly energy bill to keep an empty home the same temperature as when you're home. In general, 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 gone.
But you can save even more if you try further adjustments to the temperature. As reported by the Department of Energy, you could save around 10% on your HVAC costs by making an adjustment of 7-10 degrees.
Best Thermostat Settings While Away from Home in Summer
If you’re leaving for a longer trip in the hottest part of summer, you can make larger adjustments. This prevents wasting energy while still protecting your home from the issues that come with leaving it uncooled. About 5 degrees is suitable for brief trips while closer to 10 degrees is best 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 great results.
Ideal Thermostat Settings While on Vacation in Winter
To try and find the most energy-efficient thermostat setting for a winter trip, just lower the temperature by the same amount you would raise it in summer. 68 is a frequent winter thermostat setting, so adjusting to 63-58 will protect your plumbing while limiting how frequently your furnace runs.
A Smart Thermostat Can Help: Benefits 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 special type of programmable thermostat uses intelligent software to monitor your usual comfort habits. It applies these preferences and makes automatic adjustments to the schedule for maximum energy efficiency. And with Wi-Fi connectivity, you can remotely adjust 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 example, certain models can monitor 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 optimal 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 lower 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 away.