Whether it’s a relaxing vacation or an extended trip for work, traveling means making preparations for your heating and cooling system. You won’t be using it as long as you’re on a trip, so you can adjust the temperature as needed to limit your energy use. At the same time, you shouldn't just leave it off for the entire time you're out of the house.
For the most part, it’s best to leave your HVAC system going and adjust the temperature depending on whether it's winter or summer. That way you can lower energy costs without stressing about coming back to an uncomfortable home. We’ll review 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 Don't Leave Your Thermostat on Hold
While you may 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 particularly true when the weather will be severely hot or cold while you’re away from home.
For instance, turning the HVAC system down during the summer will sometimes cause very high humidity. Not only will your home feel muggy and uncomfortable when you come back, but it might have also invited mold/mildew growth or pest infestations.
And during the winter, letting your house get cold can lead to pipes freezing or even bursting. It’s exhausting to return home from a vacation only to find considerable water damage close to a broken pipe.
Best Thermostat Settings While at Work
You can adjust the temperature even as you come and go to work. Since 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. Generally, it’s encouraged to raise the thermostat by 5 degrees or so. Meaning that if you prefer a comfortable 72 degrees, consider increasing it to 76-77 while you’re at work.
But you may 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 costs by making an adjustment of 7-10 degrees.
Energy-Efficient Thermostat Settings While Away from Home in Summer
If you're on a lengthier trip in the heart of summer, you can make more significant adjustments. This prevents wasting energy while still safeguarding your home from the hassles that come with leaving it without air conditioning. About 5 degrees is recommended for short trips while around 10 degrees is worthwhile if you’ll be away from home for 2 weeks or more. If you prefer keeping the house at 72 in the summer, 78-82 should offer great results.
Ideal Thermostat Settings While Away from Home in Winter
To figure out the ideal thermostat setting for a winter vacation, just lower the temperature by the same amount you would increase it in summer. 68 is a popular winter thermostat setting, so lowering it to 63-58 will prevent ice from forming on pipes while limiting how long your furnace runs.
A Smart Thermostat Can Help: Perks of a Smart Thermostat
A great way to regulate your home’s HVAC system while away from home is by investing in a smart thermostat. This advanced type of programmable thermostat utilizes intelligent software to understand your preferred comfort habits. It gradually understands these preferences and makes automatic corrections to the schedule for better energy efficiency. And with Wi-Fi integration, you can remotely access your heating and cooling using a smart device like a phone or tablet.
Smart thermostats are stuffed with features to help you save energy and lower costs. For instance, some models can track electricity prices to increase heating or cooling when prices are lower. They are compatible with high-efficiency, variable-speed equipment to refine how long your HVAC system should run. It’s the ideal tool to enhance how you use your comfort system. If you’re planning on investing in a smart thermostat, there are a variety of ways you can bring down your costs, essentially getting a smart thermostat for free. The next time you are away from home, you can enjoy true peace of mind that your HVAC system won’t cause any trouble while you’re away from home.