Between a relaxing vacation or a long trip for work, traveling means making preparations for your HVAC system. You won’t be using it as long as you’re on a trip, so you can make adjustments as appropriate to limit your energy use. Simultaneously, you shouldn't just shut it down for the entire time you're out of the house.
In general, it’s better to leave your HVAC system on and just raise or lower depending on the time of year. That way you can lower energy costs without having to worry about returning to an uncomfortable home. We’ll walk you through why you should avoid turning your HVAC system off as well as the best thermostat settings for various times of year.
Here’s Why You Avoid Leaving Your Thermostat on Hold
While you could be wanting to leave your HVAC system off before a trip, this could end up causing annoying problems by the time you return. This is especially true when the weather will be severely hot or cold while you’re away from home.
For example, shutting the HVAC system off during the summer will sometimes cause very high humidity. Not only will your home feel muggy and uncomfortable when you come back, but it may have also stimulated mold/mildew growth or pest infestations.
And during the winter, not using the furnace can lead to pipes freezing or even bursting. It’s an awful feeling to return home from a vacation only to discover extensive water damage near a broken pipe.
Energy-Efficient Thermostat Settings While at Work
You can adjust the temperature even if you’re coming and going to work. Considering you’re away 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 turn up the thermostat by 5 degrees or so. That means that if you prefer a comfortable 72 degrees, try increasing it to 76-77 while you’re out.
But you could save even more if you're open to further adjusting the temperature. According to the Department of Energy, you may save nearly 10% on your HVAC expenses by making an adjustment of 7-10 degrees.
Best Thermostat Settings While on a Trip in Summer
If you leave for a longer trip in the heart of summer, you can make bigger adjustments. This ensures you don’t waste energy while still defending your home from the hassles that come with leaving it without air conditioning. Something like 5 degrees is recommended for shorter trips while around 10 degrees is ideal 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 beneficial results.
Ideal Thermostat Settings While On a Trip in Winter
To determine the most energy-efficient thermostat setting for a winter vacation, just lower the temperature by the same amount you would adjust it in summer. 68 is a common winter thermostat setting, so turning it down to 63-58 will protect your plumbing while limiting how often your furnace operates.
A Smart Thermostat Can Help: Advantages of a Smart Thermostat
One of the best ways to manage your home’s HVAC system while out of the house is by investing in a smart thermostat. This special type of programmable thermostat utilizes intelligent software to monitor your typical comfort habits. It applies these preferences and makes automatic adjustments to the schedule for higher energy efficiency. And with Wi-Fi connectivity, you can remotely control your heating and cooling from a smartphone or tablet.
Smart thermostats are loaded with features to help you save energy and lower costs. To provide an example, specific models can track electricity prices to increase heating or cooling when prices are lowest. They can be used with high-efficiency, variable-speed equipment to fine-tune how long your HVAC system should run. It’s the perfect tool to enhance how you use your comfort system. If you’re thinking about investing in a smart thermostat, there are different ways you can bring down 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 cause any trouble while you’re away.