Whether it’s a relaxing vacation or a lengthy trip for work, leaving home means making plans for your home comfort system. You don't need it if you’re on a trip, so you can adjust it as necessary to minimize your energy use. Simultaneously, you shouldn't just turn 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 worrying about getting back to an uncomfortable home. We’ll review 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 Don't Leave Your Thermostat on Hold
While you could be wanting to leave your HVAC system off before a trip, this could end up causing annoying problems by the time you get back. This is notably true if the weather will be severely hot or cold while you’re away from home.
For example, switching the HVAC system off in the summer could lead to very high humidity. Not only will your home feel muggy and uncomfortable when you come back, but it could have also stimulated mold/mildew growth or pest infestations.
And in the winter, leaving the furnace off can lead to pipes freezing or even bursting. It’s exhausting to come home from a nice trip only to discover extensive water damage near a broken pipe.
Energy-Efficient Thermostat Settings While at Work
You can adjust the temperature even as you come and go to work. Considering you’re not home for about 8 hours or longer, it doesn’t seem sensible to keep an empty home heated or cooled as if you were there. As a general rule, it’s suggested to raise the thermostat by 5 degrees or more. This means that if you prefer a comfortable 72 degrees, try adjusting it to 76-77 while you’re out.
But you may save even more if you're open to further adjusting the temperature. As reported by the Department of Energy, you might save about 10% on your HVAC expenses by raising the temperature by about 7-10 degrees.
Energy-Efficient Thermostat Settings While Away from Home in Summer
If you leave for a longer trip in the hottest part of summer, you can make larger adjustments. This helps you avoid using too much energy while still defending your home from the problems that come with leaving it un-air conditioned. Something like 5 degrees is suitable for brief trips while closer to 10 degrees is worthwhile if you’ll be out of town for 2 weeks or longer. If you enjoy keeping the house at 72 in the summer, 78-82 should offer the best results.
Recommended Thermostat Settings While Away from Home in Winter
To try and find the best thermostat setting for a winter getaway, simply lower it by the same amount you would increase it in summer. 68 is a popular winter thermostat setting, so adjusting to 63-58 will keep your plumbing safe while restricting how frequently your furnace operates.
A Smart Thermostat Can Help: Perks of a Smart Thermostat
One of the best ways to manage your home’s HVAC system while away is with a smart thermostat. This innovative type of programmable thermostat utilizes intelligent software to understand your preferred comfort habits. It gradually understands these preferences and makes automatic adjustments to the schedule for higher energy efficiency. And with Wi-Fi connectivity, you can remotely adjust your heating and cooling from a smartphone or tablet.
Smart thermostats are loaded with features to help you save even more. For instance, certain models can observe electricity prices to boost heating or cooling when prices are lowest. They can also work with high-efficiency, variable-speed equipment to optimize how long your HVAC system should run. It’s the perfect tool to streamline how you control your comfort system. If you’re considering investing in a smart thermostat, there are different ways you can reduce your costs, effectively getting a smart thermostat for free. The next time you leave for vacation, you can enjoy true peace of mind that your HVAC system won’t stir up any trouble while you’re gone.