From a much-needed vacation or a lengthy 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 adjust the temperature as necessary to limit your energy use. At the same time, you shouldn't just shut it down 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 season. That way you can reduce energy costs without having to worry about getting back to an uncomfortable home. We’ll review why you should leave your HVAC system on as well as the best thermostat settings for various times of year.
Here’s Why You Shouldn’t Leave Your Thermostat on Hold
While you may be tempted to leave your HVAC system off before a trip, this could end up causing big problems by the time you get back. This is notably true when the weather will be severely hot or cold while you’re away from home.
For instance, switching the HVAC system down during the summer could produce very high humidity. Not only will your home feel like a swamp when you have returned, but it may have also encouraged mold/mildew growth or pest infestations.
And during the winter, leaving the furnace off can lead to pipes freezing up or even bursting. It’s exhausting to return home from a vacation only to find extensive water damage nearby a broken pipe.
Best Thermostat Settings While at Work
You can optimize the temperature even when you're just going to work. Considering you’re away for about 8 hours or longer, it doesn’t help your monthly energy bill to keep an empty home the same temperature as when you're home. As a general rule, it’s suggested to turn up the thermostat by 5 degrees or more. This means 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. As stated by the Department of Energy, you might save around 10% on your HVAC costs by increasing the adjustment to 7-10 degrees.
Energy-Efficient Thermostat Settings While Away from Home in Summer
If you're on an extended trip in the heart of summer, you can make more significant 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 brief trips while closer to 10 degrees is best if you’ll be out of town for 2 weeks or longer. If you enjoy keeping the house at 72 in the summer, 78-82 should offer the best results.
Ideal Thermostat Settings While On a Trip in Winter
To figure out the ideal thermostat setting for a winter getaway, just lower the temperature by the same amount you would adjust it in summer. 68 is a common winter thermostat setting, so turning it down to 63-58 will protect your plumbing while limiting how long your furnace runs.
A Smart Thermostat Can Help: Benefits of a Smart Thermostat
An ideal strategy to manage your home’s HVAC system while away from home is with a smart thermostat. This special type of programmable thermostat employs intelligent software to track your typical comfort habits. It learns these preferences and makes automatic adjustments to the schedule for higher energy efficiency. And with Wi-Fi compatibility, you can remotely access your heating and cooling with a mobile device or tablet.
Smart thermostats are stuffed with features to help you save even more. For example, some models can observe electricity prices to boost heating or cooling when prices are more affordable. They can also work with high-efficiency, variable-speed equipment to refine how long your HVAC system needs to run. It’s the perfect tool to streamline how you use your comfort system. If you’re thinking about investing in a smart thermostat, there are a variety of ways you can lower your costs, in essence 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 gone.