From a relaxing vacation or a lengthy trip for work, traveling means making preparations for your heating and cooling system. You won’t be using it while you’re not home, so you can adjust the temperature as appropriate to minimize your energy use. Just the same, you shouldn't just turn it off for the entire time you're gone.
For the most part, it’s better to leave your HVAC system on and adjust the temperature depending on the time of year. That way you can minimize energy costs without worrying about getting back to an uncomfortable home. We’ll explain why you should leave your HVAC system on as well as the ideal 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 could end up causing annoying problems by the time you come back. This is particularly true if the weather will be severely hot or cold while you’re out of town.
For example, switching the HVAC system down during the summer can lead to very high humidity. Not only will your home feel muggy and uncomfortable when you have returned, but it could have also encouraged mold/mildew growth or pest infestations.
And in the winter, letting your house get cold could lead to pipes freezing up or even bursting. It’s never fun to get home from a nice trip only to discover substantial water damage close to 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 out of the house 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. As a general rule, it’s recommended to raise the thermostat by 5 degrees or so. This means that if you prefer a comfortable 72 degrees, consider raising it to 76-77 while you’re out.
But you may save even more if you're open to further adjusting the temperature. According to the Department of Energy, you may save nearly 10% on your HVAC spending by making an adjustment of 7-10 degrees.
Ideal Thermostat Settings While on Vacation in Summer
If you leave for an extended trip in the heart of summer, you can make larger adjustments. This prevents wasting energy while still safeguarding your home from the hassles that come with leaving it un-air conditioned. Around 5 degrees is appropriate for short trips while a larger adjustment of 10 degrees is ideal if you’ll be gone for 2 weeks or more. If you enjoy keeping the house at 72 in the summer, 78-82 can offer the best results.
Ideal Thermostat Settings While On a Trip in Winter
To determine the best thermostat setting for a winter trip, just lower the temperature by the same amount you would increase it in summer. 68 is a popular winter thermostat setting, so lowering it to 63-58 will protect your plumbing while limiting how frequently your furnace runs.
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 using a smart thermostat. This innovative type of programmable thermostat utilizes intelligent software to understand your usual comfort habits. It applies these preferences and makes automatic corrections to the schedule for higher energy efficiency. And with Wi-Fi integration, you can remotely adjust your HVAC system using a smartphone or tablet.
Smart thermostats are loaded with features to help you save even more. For example, some models can monitor electricity prices to bolster 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 planning on investing in a smart thermostat, there are a variety of ways you can reduce 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 from home.