Whether it’s a much-needed vacation or a lengthy trip for work, taking a trip means making preparations for your HVAC system. You won’t be using it as long as you’re away, so you can adjust the temperature as appropriate to minimize your energy use. At the same time, you shouldn't just leave it off for the entire time you're gone.
In general, it’s ideal to leave your HVAC system on and just raise or lower depending on the season. That way you can minimize energy costs without stressing about returning 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 Avoid Leaving Your Thermostat on Hold
While you might be tempted to turn your HVAC system off before a trip, this can end up causing big problems by the time you get back. This is particularly true in case the weather will be severely hot or cold while you’re out of town.
For instance, turning the HVAC system off in the summer can cause very high humidity. Not only will your home feel like a swamp when you have returned, but it may have also invited mold/mildew growth or pest infestations.
And over the winter, not using the furnace could lead to pipes freezing or even bursting. It’s an awful feeling to come home from a long trip only to find extensive water damage nearby a broken pipe.
Best Thermostat Settings While at Work
You can adjust the temperature even as you come and go to work. Because you’re away for around 8 hours or so, it doesn’t seem sensible to keep an empty home at the same temperature you’d usually have. As a general rule, it’s suggested to raise the thermostat by 5 degrees or more. That means that if you prefer a comfortable 72 degrees, consider adjusting it to 76-77 while you’re at work.
But you may save even more if you’re willing to further adjust the temperature. According to the Department of Energy, you may save nearly 10% on your HVAC expenses by making an adjustment of 7-10 degrees.
Energy-Efficient Thermostat Settings While on Vacation in Summer
If you're on a lengthier trip in the middle of summer, you can make bigger adjustments. This ensures you don’t waste energy while still safeguarding your home from the hassles that come with leaving it without air conditioning. Around 5 degrees is recommended for short 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.
Recommended Thermostat Settings While on Vacation in Winter
To figure out the most energy-efficient thermostat setting for a winter trip, just lower the temperature by the same amount you would adjust it in summer. 68 is a popular winter thermostat setting, so adjusting to 63-58 will prevent ice from forming on pipes while limiting how long your furnace operates.
A Smart Thermostat Can Help: Perks 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 uses intelligent software to understand your typical comfort habits. It applies these preferences and makes automatic adjustments to the schedule for better energy efficiency. And with Wi-Fi integration, you can remotely access your HVAC system from a smartphone or tablet.
Smart thermostats are packed with features to help you save even more. For example, certain models can track electricity prices to bolster 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 should run. It’s the perfect tool to enhance how you use your comfort system. If you’re planning on investing in a smart thermostat, there are a variety of ways you can bring down 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 gone.