From a tropical vacation or an extended trip for work, leaving home means making plans for your home comfort system. You don't need it while you’re away, so you can adjust the temperature as needed to conserve your energy use. Just the same, you don’t want to just shut it down for the entire time you're gone.
For the most part, it’s better to leave your HVAC system running and just raise or lower depending on whether it's winter or summer. That way you can reduce energy costs without worrying about returning to an uncomfortable home. We’ll walk you through why you should leave your HVAC system on 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 shut your HVAC system down before a trip, this can end up stirring up costly problems by the time you get back. This is notably true if the weather will be severely hot or cold while you’re away from home.
As an example, shutting the HVAC system down in the summer can lead to very high humidity. Not only will your home feel like a swamp when you come back, but it might have also invited mold/mildew growth or pest infestations.
And over the winter, not using the furnace might lead to pipes freezing or even bursting. It’s exhausting to get home from a nice trip only to find substantial water damage nearby a broken pipe.
Energy-Efficient Thermostat Settings While at Work
You can optimize the temperature even if you’re coming and going to work. Since you’re not home for 8 hours or more, it doesn’t make sense to keep an empty home the same temperature as when you're home. Generally, it’s recommended to adjust the thermostat by 5 degrees or so. This means that if you prefer a comfortable 72 degrees, think about increasing it to 76-77 while you’re gone.
But you can save even more if you’re willing to further adjust the temperature. According to the Department of Energy, you may save about 10% on your HVAC spending by increasing the adjustment to 7-10 degrees.
Best Thermostat Settings While on Vacation in Summer
If you’re leaving for a lengthier trip in the heart of summer, you can make more significant adjustments. This prevents wasting energy while still safeguarding your home from the hassles that come with leaving it without air conditioning. Around 5 degrees is recommended for short trips while around 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 should offer beneficial results.
Best Thermostat Settings While On a Trip in Winter
To try and find 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 common winter thermostat setting, so lowering it to 63-58 will prevent ice from forming on pipes while minimizing how frequently your furnace operates.
A Smart Thermostat Can Help: Perks of a Smart Thermostat
One of the best ways to optimize your home’s HVAC system while out of the house is by investing in a smart thermostat. This advanced type of programmable thermostat employs intelligent software to understand your usual comfort habits. It learns these preferences and makes automatic changes to the schedule for maximum energy efficiency. And with Wi-Fi compatibility, you can remotely access your heating and cooling from a smartphone or tablet.
Smart thermostats are stuffed with features to help you save on your energy bill. For instance, some models can monitor electricity prices to increase heating or cooling when prices are lower. They can be used with high-efficiency, variable-speed equipment to optimize how long your HVAC system should run. It’s the ideal tool to simplify how you use your comfort system. If you’re planning on 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 are away from home, you can receive true peace of mind that your HVAC system won’t stir up any trouble while you’re away.