Whether it’s a relaxing vacation or an extended trip for work, traveling means making preparations for your home comfort system. You can't use it if you’re on a trip, so you can adjust the temperature as needed to limit your energy use. Just the same, you don’t want to just turn it off for the entire duration of your trip.
In general, it’s ideal 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 shouldn’t turn your HVAC system off as well as the best thermostat settings for different times of year.
Here’s Why You Avoid Leaving Your Thermostat on Hold
While you might be inclined to turn your HVAC system off before a trip, this can end up stirring up big problems by the time you come back. This is notably true if 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 lead to very high humidity. Not only will your home feel like a swamp when you have returned, but it could have also invited mold/mildew growth or pest infestations.
And over the winter, not using the furnace can lead to pipes icing over or even bursting. It’s never fun to get home from a long trip only to come across extensive water damage nearby a broken pipe.
Energy-Efficient Thermostat Settings While at Work
You can optimize the temperature even as you come and go to work. Since you’re not home for around 8 hours or so, it doesn’t make sense to keep an empty home heated or cooled as if you were there. Generally, it’s recommended to turn up the thermostat by 5 degrees or more. Meaning that if you prefer a comfortable 72 degrees, consider adjusting it to 76-77 while you’re at work.
But you may save even more if you try further adjustments to the temperature. As stated by the Department of Energy, you might save around 10% on your HVAC costs by increasing the adjustment to 7-10 degrees.
Best Thermostat Settings While Away from Home in Summer
If you're on a lengthier 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 suitable for shorter trips while closer to 10 degrees is best if you’ll be gone for 2 weeks or more. If you like keeping the house at 72 in the summer, 78-82 should offer beneficial results.
Recommended Thermostat Settings While on Vacation in Winter
To figure out the best 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 runs.
A Smart Thermostat Can Help: Perks of a Smart Thermostat
A great way to optimize your home’s HVAC system while away is by investing in a smart thermostat. This special type of programmable thermostat utilizes intelligent software to track your preferred comfort habits. It learns these preferences and makes automatic corrections to the schedule for higher energy efficiency. And with Wi-Fi compatibility, you can remotely access your HVAC system from a smart device like a phone or tablet.
Smart thermostats are loaded with features to help you save on your energy bill. For instance, specific models can observe electricity prices to increase heating or cooling when prices are lowest. They can be used with high-efficiency, variable-speed equipment to refine how long your HVAC system has to run. It’s the perfect tool to simplify how you use your comfort system. If you’re thinking about 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 leave for vacation, you can appreciate true peace of mind that your HVAC system won’t stir up any trouble while you’re away from home.