Between a much-needed vacation or a long trip for work, traveling means making plans for your home comfort system. You don't need it as long as you’re away, so you can make adjustments as appropriate to minimize your energy use. At the same time, you don’t want to just turn it off for the entire duration of your trip.
Instead, it’s ideal to leave your HVAC system running and just raise or lower depending on the season. That way you can lower energy costs without having to worry about returning to an uncomfortable home. We’ll review why you should avoid turning your HVAC system off as well as the most energy-efficient thermostat settings for various times of year.
Here’s Why You Don't Leave Your Thermostat on Hold
While you could be inclined to shut your HVAC system down before a trip, this could end up causing costly problems by the time you come back. This is especially true when the weather will be severely hot or cold while you’re out of town.
For instance, turning the HVAC system down in the summer will sometimes produce very high humidity. Not only will your home feel gross when you have returned, but it might have also encouraged mold/mildew growth or pest infestations.
And in the winter, leaving the furnace off might lead to pipes icing over or even bursting. It’s exhausting to come home from a nice trip only to discover extensive water damage close to a broken pipe.
Best Thermostat Settings While at Work
You can optimize the temperature even as you come and go to work. Considering you’re away for around 8 hours or so, it doesn’t help your monthly energy bill to keep an empty home at the same temperature you’d usually have. Generally, it’s recommended to turn up the thermostat by 5 degrees or more. This means that if you prefer a comfortable 72 degrees, think about increasing it to 76-77 while you’re out.
But you could save even more if you’re willing to further adjust the temperature. As reported by the Department of Energy, you could save around 10% on your HVAC spending by increasing the adjustment to 7-10 degrees.
Ideal Thermostat Settings While on Vacation in Summer
If you're on an extended trip in the heart of summer, you can make larger adjustments. This ensures you don’t waste energy while still safeguarding your home from the hassles that come with leaving it without air conditioning. About 5 degrees is suitable for brief trips while around 10 degrees is worthwhile if you’ll be out of town for 2 weeks or more. If you like keeping the house at 72 in the summer, 78-82 should offer great results.
Ideal Thermostat Settings While Away from Home in Winter
To determine the ideal thermostat setting for a winter getaway, 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 restricting how often your furnace operates.
A Smart Thermostat Can Help: Perks of a Smart Thermostat
A great way to regulate your home’s HVAC system while away is by investing in a smart thermostat. This special type of programmable thermostat uses intelligent software to understand your usual comfort habits. It learns these preferences and makes automatic changes to the schedule for better energy efficiency. And with Wi-Fi connectivity, you can remotely access your heating and cooling with a smart device like a phone or tablet.
Smart thermostats are stuffed with features to help you save on your energy bill. For instance, specific models can track electricity prices to increase heating or cooling when prices are lowest. They are compatible with high-efficiency, variable-speed equipment to optimize how long your HVAC system should run. It’s the optimal tool to streamline how you control your comfort system. If you’re planning on investing in a smart thermostat, there are multiple ways you can reduce your costs, in essence getting a smart thermostat for free. The next time you are away from home, you can receive true peace of mind that your HVAC system won’t stir up any trouble while you’re away.