Between a relaxing vacation or an extended trip for work, traveling means making plans for your heating and cooling system. You won’t be using it while you’re not home, so you can adjust the temperature as needed to limit your energy use. At the same time, you don’t want to just leave it off for the entire time you're gone.
Instead, it’s better to leave your HVAC system on and adjust the temperature depending on the season. That way you can lower energy costs without worrying about getting back to an uncomfortable home. We’ll review why you should avoid turning your HVAC system off as well as the best thermostat settings for different times of year.
Here’s Why You Avoid Leaving Your Thermostat on Hold
While you might be wanting to shut your HVAC system down before a trip, this can end up stirring up big problems by the time you come back. This is especially true if the weather will be severely hot or cold while you’re away from home.
For example, switching the HVAC system off in the summer can lead to very high humidity. Not only will your home feel gross when you come back, but it could have also encouraged mold/mildew growth or pest infestations.
And during the winter, leaving the furnace off could lead to pipes icing over or even bursting. It’s exhausting to come home from a long trip only to find substantial water damage nearby a broken pipe.
Energy-Efficient Thermostat Settings While at Work
You can adjust the temperature even if you’re coming and going to work. Because you’re not home for 8 hours or more, it doesn’t make sense to keep an empty home heated or cooled as if you were there. Generally, it’s recommended to adjust the thermostat by 5 degrees or more. Meaning that if you prefer a comfortable 72 degrees, try adjusting it to 76-77 while you’re at work.
But you could save even more if you're open to further adjusting the temperature. According to the Department of Energy, you could save around 10% on your HVAC costs by increasing the adjustment to 7-10 degrees.
Ideal Thermostat Settings While on a Trip in Summer
If you leave for an extended trip in the hottest part of summer, you can make bigger adjustments. This helps you avoid using too much energy while still safeguarding your home from the hassles that come with leaving it uncooled. Something like 5 degrees is appropriate for short trips while around 10 degrees is ideal if you’ll be out of town for 2 weeks or more. If you like keeping the house at 72 in the summer, 78-82 can offer the best results.
Best Thermostat Settings While Away from Home in Winter
To try and find the most energy-efficient thermostat setting for a winter trip, just lower the temperature by the same amount you would raise it in summer. 68 is a frequent winter thermostat setting, so turning it down to 63-58 will protect your plumbing while limiting how frequently your furnace runs.
A Smart Thermostat Can Help: Perks of a Smart Thermostat
An ideal strategy to regulate your home’s HVAC system while out of the house is with a smart thermostat. This special type of programmable thermostat utilizes intelligent software to understand your usual comfort habits. It applies 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 using a smart device like a phone or tablet.
Smart thermostats are loaded with features to help you save on your energy bill. For instance, some models can track electricity prices to bolster heating or cooling when prices are lowest. They can also work with high-efficiency, variable-speed equipment to refine how long your HVAC system should run. It’s the perfect 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, 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 stir up any trouble while you’re gone.