Whether it’s a much-needed vacation or an extended trip for work, leaving home means making plans for your HVAC system. You won’t be using it while you’re not home, so you can make adjustments as necessary to minimize your energy use. Simultaneously, you don’t want to just turn it off for the entire time you're out of the house.
Instead, it’s best to leave your HVAC system on and adjust the temperature depending on the time of year. That way you can lower energy costs without having to worry about getting back to an uncomfortable home. We’ll walk you through why you should avoid turning your HVAC system off as well as the best thermostat settings for various times of year.
This Is Why You Shouldn’t Leave Your Thermostat Alone
While you might be wanting to shut your HVAC system down before a trip, this can end up leading to costly problems by the time you return. This is especially true in case the weather will be severely hot or cold while you’re out of town.
For example, shutting the HVAC system off in the summer could cause very high humidity. Not only will your home feel like a swamp when you have returned, but it may have also stimulated mold/mildew growth or pest infestations.
And over the winter, leaving the furnace off will sometimes lead to pipes icing over or even bursting. It’s never fun to get home from a long trip only to discover considerable water damage near a broken pipe.
Best Thermostat Settings While at Work
You can optimize the temperature even when you're just going to work. Because you’re away for about 8 hours or longer, it doesn’t seem sensible to keep an empty home at the same temperature you’d usually have. Generally, it’s encouraged to adjust the thermostat by 5 degrees or so. This means that if you prefer a comfortable 72 degrees, think about raising it to 76-77 while you’re at work.
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 making an adjustment of 7-10 degrees.
Energy-Efficient Thermostat Settings While on a Trip in Summer
If you’re leaving for an extended trip in the hottest part of summer, you can make bigger adjustments. This ensures you don’t waste energy while still defending your home from the issues that come with leaving it uncooled. Something like 5 degrees is recommended for short trips while closer to 10 degrees is ideal if you’ll be out of town for 2 weeks or more. If you enjoy keeping the house at 72 in the summer, 78-82 will offer beneficial results.
Best Thermostat Settings While on Vacation in Winter
To figure out the most energy-efficient thermostat setting for a winter getaway, just lower the temperature by the same amount you would raise it in summer. 68 is a popular winter thermostat setting, so adjusting to 63-58 will protect your plumbing while minimizing how often your furnace runs.
A Smart Thermostat Can Help: Benefits of a Smart Thermostat
A great way to manage your home’s HVAC system while out of the house is using a smart thermostat. This special type of programmable thermostat utilizes intelligent software to understand your typical comfort habits. It learns these preferences and makes automatic changes to the schedule for better energy efficiency. And with Wi-Fi connectivity, you can remotely access your HVAC system with a smart device like a phone or tablet.
Smart thermostats are loaded with features to help you save even more. To provide an example, some models can track electricity prices to increase heating or cooling when prices are more affordable. They can also work with high-efficiency, variable-speed equipment to optimize how long your HVAC system has to run. It’s the ideal tool to enhance how you control your comfort system. If you’re considering investing in a smart thermostat, there are different 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.