Between a much-needed vacation or a lengthy trip for work, leaving home means making preparations for your home comfort system. You can't use it if you’re away, so you can make adjustments as necessary to limit your energy use. Just the same, you shouldn't just leave it off for the entire duration of your trip.
In general, it’s better to leave your HVAC system on and adjust the temperature depending on whether it's winter or summer. That way you can reduce energy costs without worrying about coming back to an uncomfortable home. We’ll explain why you should leave your HVAC system on as well as the ideal thermostat settings for various times of year.
Here’s Why You Don't Leave Your Thermostat on Hold
While you might be inclined to leave your HVAC system off before a trip, this will sometimes end up stirring up annoying problems by the time you come back. This is notably true in case the weather will be severely hot or cold while you’re out of town.
For example, turning the HVAC system down in the summer will sometimes lead to very high humidity. Not only will your home feel muggy and uncomfortable when you return, but it might have also invited mold/mildew growth or pest infestations.
And during the winter, leaving the furnace off can lead to pipes icing over or even bursting. It’s exhausting to come home from a nice trip only to come across substantial water damage near a broken pipe.
Ideal Thermostat Settings While at Work
You can make temperature adjustments even as you come and go to work. Since you’re not home for 8 hours or more, it doesn’t seem sensible to keep an empty home at the same temperature you’d usually have. Generally, it’s recommended to adjust the thermostat by 5 degrees or more. Meaning that if you prefer a comfortable 72 degrees, consider increasing it to 76-77 while you’re out.
But you can save even more if you're open to further adjusting the temperature. As reported by the Department of Energy, you could save around 10% on your HVAC costs by making an adjustment of 7-10 degrees.
Best Thermostat Settings While Away from Home in Summer
If you leave for an extended 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 without air conditioning. About 5 degrees is recommended for shorter trips while around 10 degrees is ideal if you’ll be out of town for 2 weeks or more. If you prefer keeping the house at 72 in the summer, 78-82 should offer the best results.
Best Thermostat Settings While On a Trip in Winter
To determine the ideal thermostat setting for a winter trip, just lower the temperature by the same amount you would increase it in summer. 68 is a frequent winter thermostat setting, so lowering it to 63-58 will keep your plumbing safe while limiting how long your furnace operates.
A Smart Thermostat Can Help: Perks of a Smart Thermostat
An ideal strategy to optimize your home’s HVAC system while out of the house is by investing in a smart thermostat. This innovative type of programmable thermostat utilizes intelligent software to monitor your typical comfort habits. It gradually understands these preferences and makes automatic adjustments to the schedule for maximum energy efficiency. And with Wi-Fi compatibility, you can remotely adjust your heating and cooling from a smart device like a phone or tablet.
Smart thermostats are loaded with features to help you save on your energy bill. To provide an example, some models can monitor electricity prices to bolster heating or cooling when prices are lowest. They can be used with high-efficiency, variable-speed equipment to optimize how long your HVAC system needs to run. It’s the ideal tool to simplify how you control your comfort system. If you’re thinking about investing in a smart thermostat, there are different ways you can reduce your costs, effectively 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 stir up any trouble while you’re away from home.