From a tropical vacation or a lengthy trip for work, traveling means making plans for your heating and cooling system. You won’t be using it as long as you’re away, so you can make adjustments as needed to minimize your energy use. Just the same, you don’t want to just turn it off for the entire time you're gone.
For the most part, it’s best to leave your HVAC system going and adjust the temperature depending on whether it's winter or summer. That way you can minimize energy costs without having to worry about getting back to an uncomfortable home. We’ll explain why you shouldn’t turn your HVAC system off as well as the ideal 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 stirring up big problems by the time you return. This is especially true if the weather will be severely hot or cold while you’re away from home.
For example, turning the HVAC system down in the summer could lead to very high humidity. Not only will your home feel like a swamp when you have returned, but it might have also stimulated mold/mildew growth or pest infestations.
And over the winter, letting your house get cold might lead to pipes icing over or even bursting. It’s an awful feeling to return home from a vacation only to come across extensive water damage nearby a broken pipe.
Ideal Thermostat Settings While at Work
You can make temperature adjustments even as you come and go to work. Since you’re out of the house for about 8 hours or longer, it doesn’t help your monthly energy bill to keep an empty home heated or cooled as if you were there. Generally, it’s recommended to adjust the thermostat by 5 degrees or more. That means that if you prefer a comfortable 72 degrees, try adjusting it to 76-77 while you’re out.
But you can save even more if you try further adjustments to the temperature. As stated by the Department of Energy, you may save around 10% on your HVAC costs by raising the temperature by about 7-10 degrees.
Ideal Thermostat Settings While on Vacation in Summer
If you’re leaving for a lengthier trip in the middle of summer, you can make larger adjustments. This helps you avoid using too much energy while still defending your home from the issues that come with leaving it un-air conditioned. Something like 5 degrees is suitable for brief trips while around 10 degrees is best if you’ll be gone for 2 weeks or more. If you enjoy keeping the house at 72 in the summer, 78-82 will offer beneficial results.
Best Thermostat Settings While Away from Home in Winter
To figure out the best thermostat setting for a winter getaway, consider lowering the temperature by the same amount you would increase it in summer. 68 is a frequent winter thermostat setting, so lowering it to 63-58 will keep your plumbing safe while limiting how often your furnace operates.
A Smart Thermostat Can Help: Benefits of a Smart Thermostat
One of the best ways to manage your home’s HVAC system while out of the house is using a smart thermostat. This advanced type of programmable thermostat utilizes intelligent software to understand your typical comfort habits. It applies these preferences and makes automatic corrections to the schedule for better energy efficiency. And with Wi-Fi compatibility, you can remotely control your heating and cooling using a mobile device or tablet.
Smart thermostats are packed with features to help you save even more. For example, certain models can track electricity prices to increase heating or cooling when prices are more affordable. They can also work with high-efficiency, variable-speed equipment to refine how long your HVAC system needs to run. It’s the perfect tool to enhance how you control your comfort system. If you’re considering investing in a smart thermostat, there are different ways you can lower your costs, effectively getting a smart thermostat for free. The next time you are away from home, you can enjoy true peace of mind that your HVAC system won’t stir up any trouble while you’re away.