Between a tropical vacation or an extended trip for work, traveling means making plans for your heating and cooling system. You don't need it as long as you’re not home, so you can adjust it as appropriate to conserve your energy use. At the same time, you shouldn't just shut it down for the entire time you're out of the house.
For the most part, it’s ideal to leave your HVAC system running and just raise or lower depending on the time of year. That way you can reduce energy costs without worrying about coming back to an uncomfortable home. We’ll walk you through why you shouldn’t turn your HVAC system off as well as the ideal thermostat settings for summer and winter.
Here’s Why You Shouldn’t Leave Your Thermostat Alone
While you could be inclined to turn your HVAC system off before a trip, this will sometimes end up stirring up annoying 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 off in the summer can lead to very high humidity. Not only will your home feel muggy and uncomfortable when you return, but it might have also stimulated mold/mildew growth or pest infestations.
And over the winter, leaving the furnace off could lead to pipes freezing or even bursting. It’s exhausting to get home from a nice trip only to come across extensive water damage near a broken pipe.
Ideal Thermostat Settings While at Work
You can adjust the temperature even if you’re coming and going to work. Considering you’re not home for 8 hours or more, it doesn’t seem sensible to keep an empty home heated or cooled as if you were there. In general, it’s recommended to raise the thermostat by 5 degrees or more. Meaning that if you prefer a comfortable 72 degrees, try increasing it to 76-77 while you’re out.
But you can save even more if you're open to further adjusting the temperature. As stated by the Department of Energy, you might save around 10% on your HVAC costs by raising the temperature by about 7-10 degrees.
Ideal Thermostat Settings While Away from Home in Summer
If you're on an extended trip in the middle of summer, you can make larger adjustments. This ensures you don’t waste energy while still defending your home from the problems that come with leaving it un-air conditioned. About 5 degrees is appropriate for short trips while closer to 10 degrees is ideal if you’ll be gone for 2 weeks or longer. If you enjoy keeping the house at 72 in the summer, 78-82 should offer beneficial results.
Recommended Thermostat Settings While On a Trip in Winter
To determine the most energy-efficient thermostat setting for a winter getaway, simply lower it by the same amount you would increase it in summer. 68 is a common winter thermostat setting, so turning it down to 63-58 will keep your plumbing safe while limiting how frequently your furnace operates.
A Smart Thermostat Can Help: Advantages of Smart Thermostat Installation
A great way to regulate your home’s HVAC system while away is with a smart thermostat. This innovative type of programmable thermostat employs intelligent software to monitor your usual comfort habits. It applies these preferences and makes automatic changes to the schedule for higher energy efficiency. And with Wi-Fi connectivity, you can remotely adjust your HVAC system using a smartphone or tablet.
Smart thermostats are stuffed with features to help you save energy and lower costs. For instance, some models can observe electricity prices to boost heating or cooling when prices are more affordable. They can be used with high-efficiency, variable-speed equipment to fine-tune how long your HVAC system has to 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, in essence getting a smart thermostat for free. The next time you leave for vacation, you can appreciate true peace of mind that your HVAC system won’t cause any trouble while you’re gone.