Whether it’s a relaxing vacation or a long trip for work, leaving home means making plans for your heating and cooling system. You don't need it as long as you’re away, so you can adjust it as needed to conserve your energy use. Just the same, you don’t want to just leave it off for the entire duration of your trip.
For the most part, it’s best to leave your HVAC system on and adjust the temperature depending on the time of year. That way you can minimize energy costs without worrying about getting back to an uncomfortable home. We’ll walk you through why you should avoid turning your HVAC system off as well as the most energy-efficient thermostat settings for different times of year.
Here’s Why You Don't Leave Your Thermostat on Hold
While you might be inclined to leave your HVAC system off before a trip, this can end up causing big problems by the time you return. This is notably true when the weather will be severely hot or cold while you’re gone.
For instance, shutting the HVAC system off during the summer will sometimes cause very high humidity. Not only will your home feel gross when you come back, but it may have also encouraged mold/mildew growth or pest infestations.
And over the winter, not using the furnace will sometimes lead to pipes freezing up or even bursting. It’s exhausting to return home from a vacation only to come across extensive water damage close to a broken pipe.
Energy-Efficient Thermostat Settings While at Work
You can optimize the temperature even when you're just going to work. Considering you’re out of the house for 8 hours or more, it doesn’t help your monthly energy bill to keep an empty home the same temperature as when you're home. Generally, it’s suggested to turn up the thermostat by 5 degrees or so. That means that if you prefer a comfortable 72 degrees, try increasing it to 76-77 while you’re gone.
But you may save even more if you try further adjustments to the temperature. As reported by the Department of Energy, you could save about 10% on your HVAC expenses by making an adjustment of 7-10 degrees.
Ideal Thermostat Settings While on Vacation in Summer
If you're on an extended trip in the heart of summer, you can make bigger adjustments. This ensures you don’t waste energy while still protecting your home from the problems that come with leaving it without air conditioning. Around 5 degrees is suitable for shorter trips while around 10 degrees is worthwhile 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 will offer the best results.
Best Thermostat Settings While On a Trip in Winter
To determine the most energy-efficient thermostat setting for a winter vacation, simply lower it by the same amount you would raise it in summer. 68 is a common winter thermostat setting, so adjusting to 63-58 will protect your plumbing while limiting how often your furnace operates.
A Smart Thermostat Can Help: Perks of a Smart Thermostat
An ideal strategy to optimize your home’s HVAC system while away is using a smart thermostat. This innovative type of programmable thermostat employs intelligent software to monitor your preferred comfort habits. It learns these preferences and makes automatic adjustments to the schedule for maximum energy efficiency. And with Wi-Fi compatibility, you can remotely control your heating and cooling from a smartphone or tablet.
Smart thermostats are loaded with features to help you save even more. For example, certain models can monitor electricity prices to boost 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 streamline 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, effectively getting a smart thermostat for free. The next time you leave for vacation, you can appreciate true peace of mind that your HVAC system won’t stir up any trouble while you’re away from home.