Whether it’s a tropical vacation or a long trip for work, leaving home means making plans for your home comfort system. You can't use it if you’re not home, so you can adjust the temperature as needed to minimize your energy use. Simultaneously, you don’t want to just leave it off for the entire time you're out of the house.
In general, it’s ideal 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 having to worry about coming back to an uncomfortable home. We’ll walk you through why you should leave your HVAC system on as well as the ideal thermostat settings for various times of year.
Here’s Why You Shouldn’t Leave Your Thermostat on Hold
While you may be inclined to turn your HVAC system off before a trip, this could end up stirring up costly problems by the time you come back. This is notably true when the weather will be severely hot or cold while you’re gone.
For example, turning the HVAC system off in the summer can produce very high humidity. Not only will your home feel muggy and uncomfortable when you have returned, but it could have also encouraged mold/mildew growth or pest infestations.
And over the winter, not using the furnace might lead to pipes icing over or even bursting. It’s an awful feeling to return home from a vacation only to come across substantial water damage nearby a broken pipe.
Energy-Efficient Thermostat Settings While at Work
You can make temperature adjustments even as you come and go to work. Considering you’re away for 8 hours or more, it doesn’t help your monthly energy bill to keep an empty home at the same temperature you’d usually have. In general, it’s recommended to adjust the thermostat by 5 degrees or more. This means that if you prefer a comfortable 72 degrees, try raising 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 reported by the Department of Energy, you may save about 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 leave for a lengthier trip in the middle of summer, you can make bigger adjustments. This prevents wasting energy while still protecting your home from the issues that come with leaving it un-air conditioned. About 5 degrees is suitable for shorter trips while closer to 10 degrees is best if you’ll be out of town for 2 weeks or longer. If you prefer keeping the house at 72 in the summer, 78-82 should offer great results.
Recommended Thermostat Settings While on Vacation in Winter
To determine the best thermostat setting for a winter vacation, simply lower it by the same amount you would raise it in summer. 68 is a popular winter thermostat setting, so lowering it to 63-58 will prevent ice from forming on pipes while restricting how frequently your furnace runs.
A Smart Thermostat Can Help: Advantages of a Smart Thermostat
A great way to manage your home’s HVAC system while away is by investing in a smart thermostat. This advanced type of programmable thermostat uses intelligent software to monitor 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 from a mobile device or tablet.
Smart thermostats are packed with features to help you save energy and lower costs. For example, some models can monitor electricity prices to bolster 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 has to run. It’s the ideal tool to simplify 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, in essence getting a smart thermostat for free. The next time you are away from home, you can receive true peace of mind that your HVAC system won’t cause any trouble while you’re away.