Between a tropical vacation or an extended trip for work, leaving home means making preparations for your home comfort system. You don't need it while you’re on a trip, so you can adjust it as appropriate to conserve your energy use. Just the same, you shouldn't just leave it off for the entire time you're out of the house.
Instead, it’s best to leave your HVAC system running and just make adjustments depending on the time of year. That way you can reduce energy costs without worrying about returning to an uncomfortable home. We’ll explain 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 tempted to turn your HVAC system off before a trip, this can end up causing annoying problems by the time you get back. This is particularly true if the weather will be severely hot or cold while you’re out of town.
For example, shutting the HVAC system off in the summer will sometimes produce very high humidity. Not only will your home feel muggy and uncomfortable when you have returned, but it might have also stimulated mold/mildew growth or pest infestations.
And during the winter, leaving the furnace off will sometimes lead to pipes freezing or even bursting. It’s an awful feeling to return home from a long trip only to discover considerable water damage near a broken pipe.
Energy-Efficient Thermostat Settings While at Work
You can optimize the temperature even when you're just going to work. Since 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. In general, it’s encouraged to turn up the thermostat by 5 degrees or so. That means that if you prefer a comfortable 72 degrees, think about raising it to 76-77 while you’re at work.
But you could save even more if you try further adjustments to the temperature. According to the Department of Energy, you might save about 10% on your HVAC spending by raising the temperature by about 7-10 degrees.
Best Thermostat Settings While on Vacation in Summer
If you’re leaving for an extended trip in the hottest part of summer, you can make bigger adjustments. This prevents wasting energy while still protecting your home from the problems that come with leaving it uncooled. About 5 degrees is appropriate for shorter trips while a larger adjustment of 10 degrees is best if you’ll be away from home for 2 weeks or more. If you prefer keeping the house at 72 in the summer, 78-82 should offer great results.
Recommended Thermostat Settings While On a Trip in Winter
To figure out the best thermostat setting for a winter vacation, just lower the temperature by the same amount you would raise it in summer. 68 is a popular 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: Perks of a Smart Thermostat
A great way to regulate your home’s HVAC system while away from home is using a smart thermostat. This innovative type of programmable thermostat utilizes intelligent software to monitor your typical comfort habits. It applies these preferences and makes automatic changes to the schedule for better energy efficiency. And with Wi-Fi integration, you can remotely control your heating and cooling from a smartphone or tablet.
Smart thermostats are packed with features to help you save on your energy bill. For instance, certain models can monitor electricity prices to boost heating or cooling when prices are lower. They are compatible with high-efficiency, variable-speed equipment to optimize how long your HVAC system has to run. It’s the perfect tool to streamline how you control your comfort system. If you’re thinking about investing in a smart thermostat, there are multiple ways you can lower your costs, in essence getting a smart thermostat for free. The next time you are away from home, you can enjoy true peace of mind that your HVAC system won’t stir up any trouble while you’re away from home.