From a much-needed vacation or a lengthy trip for work, taking a trip means making preparations for your HVAC system. You can't use it as long as you’re away, so you can make adjustments as appropriate 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.
In general, it’s better to leave your HVAC system on and just raise or lower depending on the season. That way you can minimize energy costs without having to worry about coming back to an uncomfortable home. We’ll review why you should avoid turning your HVAC system off as well as the most energy-efficient thermostat settings for summer and winter.
Here’s Why You Avoid Leaving Your Thermostat on Hold
While you may be tempted to turn your HVAC system off before a trip, this could end up causing annoying problems by the time you get back. This is notably true in case the weather will be severely hot or cold while you’re away from home.
As an example, turning the HVAC system off in the summer will sometimes lead to very high humidity. Not only will your home feel like a swamp when you return, but it might have also stimulated mold/mildew growth or pest infestations.
And during the winter, letting your house get cold could lead to pipes freezing or even bursting. It’s an awful feeling to come home from a vacation only to discover extensive water damage nearby a broken pipe.
Best Thermostat Settings While at Work
You can make temperature adjustments even if you’re coming and going to work. Since you’re out of the house for about 8 hours or longer, it doesn’t seem sensible 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 so. That means that if you prefer a comfortable 72 degrees, try adjusting it to 76-77 while you’re gone.
But you can save even more if you're open to further adjusting the temperature. According to the Department of Energy, you may save nearly 10% on your HVAC spending by raising the temperature by about 7-10 degrees.
Ideal Thermostat Settings While Away from Home in Summer
If you leave for a longer trip in the middle of summer, you can make more significant adjustments. This prevents wasting energy while still defending your home from the problems that come with leaving it uncooled. Around 5 degrees is appropriate for shorter trips while a larger adjustment of 10 degrees is worthwhile if you’ll be gone for 2 weeks or more. If you enjoy 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 ideal 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 keep your plumbing safe while minimizing how often your furnace runs.
A Smart Thermostat Can Help: Advantages of a Smart Thermostat
A great way to optimize your home’s HVAC system while away is by investing in a smart thermostat. This innovative type of programmable thermostat uses intelligent software to track your preferred comfort habits. It gradually understands these preferences and makes automatic corrections to the schedule for higher energy efficiency. And with Wi-Fi connectivity, you can remotely control your HVAC system from a smart device like a phone or tablet.
Smart thermostats are loaded with features to help you save on your energy bill. For example, specific models can track electricity prices to increase heating or cooling when prices are more affordable. They can also work with high-efficiency, variable-speed equipment to fine-tune how long your HVAC system has to run. It’s the optimal tool to simplify how you control your comfort system. If you’re thinking about investing in a smart thermostat, there are multiple ways you can bring down your costs, in essence 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 gone.