Between a much-needed vacation or a long trip for work, leaving home means making plans for your home comfort system. You can't use it as long as you’re not home, so you can adjust the temperature as appropriate to conserve 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 going and just make adjustments depending on whether it's winter or summer. That way you can lower energy costs without having to worry about coming back to an uncomfortable home. We’ll review why you should avoid turning your HVAC system off as well as the most energy-efficient thermostat settings for summer and winter.
Here’s Why You Don't Leave Your Thermostat on Hold
While you could 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 when the weather will be severely hot or cold while you’re away from home.
For instance, switching the HVAC system off during the summer will sometimes produce very high humidity. Not only will your home feel like a swamp when you have returned, but it may have also encouraged mold/mildew growth or pest infestations.
And over the winter, letting your house get cold might lead to pipes icing over or even bursting. It’s never fun to return home from a nice trip only to come across substantial water damage close to a broken pipe.
Best Thermostat Settings While at Work
You can optimize the temperature even as you come and go to work. Since you’re not home for about 8 hours or longer, it doesn’t make sense to keep an empty home at the same temperature you’d usually have. As a general rule, it’s encouraged to raise the thermostat by 5 degrees or more. This means that if you prefer a comfortable 72 degrees, try raising it to 76-77 while you’re at work.
But you could save even more if you try further adjustments to the temperature. As reported by the Department of Energy, you may save nearly 10% on your HVAC expenses 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 hottest part of summer, you can make larger adjustments. This prevents wasting energy while still protecting your home from the problems that come with leaving it uncooled. Something like 5 degrees is appropriate for brief trips while closer to 10 degrees is best if you’ll be out of town for 2 weeks or more. If you like keeping the house at 72 in the summer, 78-82 will offer the best 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 increase it in summer. 68 is a frequent winter thermostat setting, so adjusting to 63-58 will prevent ice from forming on pipes while limiting how frequently your furnace operates.
A Smart Thermostat Can Help: Advantages of a Smart Thermostat
One of the best ways to optimize your home’s HVAC system while away from home is with a smart thermostat. This special type of programmable thermostat utilizes intelligent software to track your usual comfort habits. It applies these preferences and makes automatic changes to the schedule for better energy efficiency. And with Wi-Fi compatibility, you can remotely control your HVAC system from a smartphone or tablet.
Smart thermostats are loaded with features to help you save even more. For instance, some 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 refine how long your HVAC system has to run. It’s the optimal tool to simplify how you control your comfort system. If you’re planning on investing in a smart thermostat, there are multiple ways you can bring down your costs, essentially getting a smart thermostat for free. The next time you leave for vacation, you can receive true peace of mind that your HVAC system won’t cause any trouble while you’re away from home.