Whether it’s a tropical vacation or an extended trip for work, leaving home means making plans for your home comfort system. You don't need it if you’re not home, so you can adjust the temperature as needed to conserve your energy use. Just the same, you don’t want to just leave it off for the entire time you're gone.
Instead, it’s better to leave your HVAC system going and just make adjustments depending on the time of year. That way you can reduce 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 ideal thermostat settings for summer and winter.
Here’s Why You Shouldn’t Leave Your Thermostat on Hold
While you might be inclined to shut your HVAC system down before a trip, this will sometimes end up stirring up big problems by the time you come back. This is especially true if the weather will be severely hot or cold while you’re gone.
For example, shutting the HVAC system off in the summer could produce very high humidity. Not only will your home feel like a swamp when you have returned, but it might have also encouraged mold/mildew growth or pest infestations.
And in the winter, leaving the furnace off can lead to pipes icing over or even bursting. It’s an awful feeling to get home from a vacation only to come across extensive water damage nearby a broken pipe.
Energy-Efficient Thermostat Settings While at Work
You can adjust the temperature even if you’re coming and going to work. Because you’re away for around 8 hours or so, it doesn’t make sense to keep an empty home at the same temperature you’d usually have. In general, it’s recommended to turn up the thermostat by 5 degrees or so. Meaning that if you prefer a comfortable 72 degrees, try adjusting it to 76-77 while you’re at work.
But you can save even more if you try further adjustments to the temperature. As stated by the Department of Energy, you may save nearly 10% on your HVAC expenses by raising the temperature by about 7-10 degrees.
Best Thermostat Settings While on Vacation in Summer
If you leave for a lengthier trip in the hottest part of summer, you can make larger adjustments. This ensures you don’t waste energy while still protecting your home from the issues that come with leaving it un-air conditioned. Around 5 degrees is recommended for shorter trips while a larger adjustment of 10 degrees is worthwhile if you’ll be out of town for 2 weeks or longer. If you like keeping the house at 72 in the summer, 78-82 will offer great results.
Recommended Thermostat Settings While Away from Home in Winter
To determine the ideal thermostat setting for a winter vacation, simply lower it by the same amount you would adjust it in summer. 68 is a common winter thermostat setting, so lowering it to 63-58 will protect your plumbing while limiting how often your furnace operates.
A Smart Thermostat Can Help: Perks of a Smart Thermostat
An ideal strategy to regulate your home’s HVAC system while away is by investing in a smart thermostat. This innovative type of programmable thermostat utilizes intelligent software to monitor your typical comfort habits. It learns these preferences and makes automatic adjustments to the schedule for higher energy efficiency. And with Wi-Fi integration, you can remotely access your heating and cooling with a smartphone or tablet.
Smart thermostats are loaded with features to help you save on your energy bill. For instance, specific models can track electricity prices to boost heating or cooling when prices are more affordable. They can be used with high-efficiency, variable-speed equipment to optimize how long your HVAC system needs to run. It’s the optimal tool to enhance how you control your comfort system. If you’re considering investing in a smart thermostat, there are multiple ways you can bring down your costs, in essence getting a smart thermostat for free. The next time you leave for vacation, you can appreciate true peace of mind that your HVAC system won’t cause any trouble while you’re away from home.