From a much-needed vacation or an extended trip for work, leaving home means making plans for your home comfort system. You won’t be using it as long as you’re not home, so you can make adjustments as necessary to conserve your energy use. Simultaneously, you don’t want to just shut it down for the entire duration of your trip.
In general, it’s best to leave your HVAC system running and just make adjustments depending on whether it's winter or summer. That way you can minimize energy costs without stressing about getting back to an uncomfortable home. We’ll explain why you shouldn’t turn your HVAC system off as well as the most energy-efficient thermostat settings for summer and winter.
Here’s Why You Avoid Leaving Your Thermostat on Hold
While you might be wanting to turn your HVAC system off before a trip, this can end up leading to annoying problems by the time you come back. This is especially true if the weather will be severely hot or cold while you’re out of town.
As an example, shutting the HVAC system off during the summer can lead to very high humidity. Not only will your home feel muggy and uncomfortable when you have returned, but it could have also stimulated mold/mildew growth or pest infestations.
And over the winter, leaving the furnace off can lead to pipes freezing up or even bursting. It’s never fun to get home from a vacation only to find extensive water damage close to a broken pipe.
Ideal Thermostat Settings While at Work
You can adjust the temperature even as you come and go to work. Because you’re away for about 8 hours or longer, it doesn’t seem sensible to keep an empty home heated or cooled as if you were there. Generally, it’s encouraged to adjust the thermostat by 5 degrees or so. 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’re willing to further adjust the temperature. According to the Department of Energy, you may save around 10% on your HVAC expenses by raising the temperature by about 7-10 degrees.
Ideal Thermostat Settings While Away from Home in Summer
If you leave for a longer trip in the hottest part of summer, you can make larger adjustments. This helps you avoid using too much energy while still safeguarding your home from the issues that come with leaving it without air conditioning. About 5 degrees is suitable for shorter trips while closer to 10 degrees is worthwhile if you’ll be gone for 2 weeks or more. If you enjoy keeping the house at 72 in the summer, 78-82 should offer the best results.
Best Thermostat Settings While Away from Home in Winter
To determine the most energy-efficient thermostat setting for a winter vacation, just lower the temperature by the same amount you would raise it in summer. 68 is a frequent winter thermostat setting, so lowering it to 63-58 will keep your plumbing safe while limiting how often your furnace runs.
A Smart Thermostat Can Help: Perks of a Smart Thermostat
An ideal strategy to manage your home’s HVAC system while away is by investing in a smart thermostat. This special type of programmable thermostat utilizes intelligent software to monitor your typical comfort habits. It gradually understands these preferences and makes automatic changes to the schedule for better 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 even more. For instance, certain models can track electricity prices to bolster heating or cooling when prices are more affordable. They are compatible with high-efficiency, variable-speed equipment to optimize how long your HVAC system needs to run. It’s the optimal tool to simplify how you control your comfort system. If you’re thinking about investing in a smart thermostat, there are a variety of ways you can reduce your costs, in essence getting a smart thermostat for free. The next time you leave for vacation, you can enjoy true peace of mind that your HVAC system won’t stir up any trouble while you’re away from home.