Between a much-needed vacation or an extended trip for work, traveling means making plans for your home comfort system. You can't use it if you’re not home, so you can adjust it as appropriate to limit your energy use. Just the same, you shouldn't just shut it down for the entire time you're out of the house.
Instead, it’s better to leave your HVAC system going and just raise or lower depending on the time of year. That way you can reduce energy costs without worrying about coming back to an uncomfortable home. We’ll review why you shouldn’t turn your HVAC system off as well as the best thermostat settings for various times of year.
Here’s Why You Don't Leave Your Thermostat on Hold
While you might be inclined to turn your HVAC system off before a trip, this could 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 example, shutting the HVAC system off during the summer can cause very high humidity. Not only will your home feel gross when you come back, but it could have also invited mold/mildew growth or pest infestations.
And during the winter, not using the furnace will sometimes lead to pipes icing over or even bursting. It’s an awful feeling to get home from a long trip only to discover considerable water damage near a broken pipe.
Best Thermostat Settings While at Work
You can adjust the temperature even when you're just going 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 at the same temperature you’d usually have. Generally, it’s suggested to turn up the thermostat by 5 degrees or so. This means that if you prefer a comfortable 72 degrees, consider increasing it to 76-77 while you’re at work.
But you could save even more if you’re willing to further adjust the temperature. As stated by the Department of Energy, you could save about 10% on your HVAC costs by making an adjustment of 7-10 degrees.
Ideal Thermostat Settings While on Vacation in Summer
If you're on a lengthier 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 problems that come with leaving it without air conditioning. About 5 degrees is appropriate for brief trips while a larger adjustment of 10 degrees is worthwhile if you’ll be gone for 2 weeks or longer. If you prefer keeping the house at 72 in the summer, 78-82 can offer great results.
Ideal Thermostat Settings While on Vacation in Winter
To try and find the best thermostat setting for a winter getaway, consider lowering the temperature by the same amount you would adjust it in summer. 68 is a frequent winter thermostat setting, so turning it down to 63-58 will prevent ice from forming on pipes while restricting how long your furnace operates.
A Smart Thermostat Can Help: Benefits of a Smart Thermostat
A great way to optimize your home’s HVAC system while away is by investing in a smart thermostat. This innovative type of programmable thermostat uses intelligent software to monitor your typical comfort habits. It learns these preferences and makes automatic adjustments to the schedule for maximum energy efficiency. And with Wi-Fi compatibility, you can remotely access your HVAC system using a smart device like a phone or tablet.
Smart thermostats are packed with features to help you save energy and lower costs. For instance, certain models can monitor electricity prices to bolster heating or cooling when prices are lower. They can also work with high-efficiency, variable-speed equipment to fine-tune how long your HVAC system needs to 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 different ways you can reduce your costs, in essence 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.