From a much-needed vacation or a long trip for work, taking a trip means making plans for your heating and cooling system. You don't need it as long as you’re not home, so you can make adjustments as appropriate to limit your energy use. At the same time, you shouldn't just shut it down for the entire duration of your trip.
For the most part, it’s ideal to leave your HVAC system on and just make adjustments depending on the time of year. That way you can lower energy costs without stressing about returning to an uncomfortable home. We’ll review why you shouldn’t turn your HVAC system off as well as the most energy-efficient thermostat settings for summer and winter.
Here’s Why You Don't Leave Your Thermostat on Hold
While you might be tempted to turn your HVAC system off before a trip, this can end up stirring up annoying problems by the time you get back. This is particularly true when the weather will be severely hot or cold while you’re gone.
For instance, switching the HVAC system off during the summer will sometimes lead to very high humidity. Not only will your home feel muggy and uncomfortable when you return, but it may have also stimulated mold/mildew growth or pest infestations.
And in the winter, not using the furnace could lead to pipes icing over or even bursting. It’s never fun to return home from a long trip only to come across extensive water damage nearby a broken pipe.
Ideal Thermostat Settings While at Work
You can adjust the temperature even if you’re coming and going to work. Since you’re not home for around 8 hours or so, it doesn’t make sense to keep an empty home at the same temperature you’d usually have. Generally, it’s suggested to turn up the thermostat by 5 degrees or more. Meaning that if you prefer a comfortable 72 degrees, think about adjusting it to 76-77 while you’re out.
But you could save even more if you try further adjustments to the temperature. As reported by the Department of Energy, you may save around 10% on your HVAC spending by making an adjustment of 7-10 degrees.
Best Thermostat Settings While Away from Home in Summer
If you're on a lengthier trip in the hottest part of summer, you can make bigger adjustments. This helps you avoid using too much energy while still protecting your home from the hassles that come with leaving it without air conditioning. Something like 5 degrees is appropriate for shorter trips while around 10 degrees is ideal if you’ll be out of town for 2 weeks or longer. If you enjoy keeping the house at 72 in the summer, 78-82 can offer beneficial results.
Best Thermostat Settings While on Vacation in Winter
To determine the best thermostat setting for a winter trip, simply lower it by the same amount you would adjust it in summer. 68 is a frequent winter thermostat setting, so adjusting to 63-58 will protect your plumbing while minimizing how long your furnace runs.
A Smart Thermostat Can Help: Benefits of a Smart Thermostat
An ideal strategy to optimize your home’s HVAC system while away is by investing in a smart thermostat. This advanced type of programmable thermostat uses intelligent software to track your preferred comfort habits. It learns these preferences and makes automatic changes to the schedule for higher energy efficiency. And with Wi-Fi integration, you can remotely adjust your HVAC system from a smartphone or tablet.
Smart thermostats are stuffed with features to help you save energy and lower costs. For instance, certain models can track electricity prices to boost heating or cooling when prices are lower. They can be used with high-efficiency, variable-speed equipment to refine how long your HVAC system should run. It’s the ideal tool to simplify how you use your comfort system. If you’re thinking about 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 leave for vacation, you can enjoy true peace of mind that your HVAC system won’t cause any trouble while you’re gone.