Whether it’s a much-needed vacation or an extended trip for work, leaving home means making preparations for your heating and cooling system. You don't need it while you’re away, so you can adjust the temperature as needed to conserve your energy use. Just the same, you shouldn't just turn it off for the entire duration of your trip.
Instead, it’s best to leave your HVAC system going and just raise or lower depending on whether it's winter or summer. That way you can lower energy costs without worrying about getting back to an uncomfortable home. We’ll explain why you shouldn’t turn your HVAC system off as well as the ideal thermostat settings for summer and winter.
Here’s Why You Shouldn’t Leave Your Thermostat on Hold
While you may be inclined to shut your HVAC system down before a trip, this can end up stirring up costly problems by the time you come back. This is particularly true when the weather will be severely hot or cold while you’re gone.
As an example, switching the HVAC system off in the summer will sometimes lead to very high humidity. Not only will your home feel muggy and uncomfortable when you come back, but it might have also stimulated mold/mildew growth or pest infestations.
And during the winter, not using the furnace could lead to pipes freezing or even bursting. It’s an awful feeling to return home from a nice trip only to find substantial water damage nearby a broken pipe.
Ideal Thermostat Settings While at Work
You can adjust the temperature even when you're just going to work. Because you’re out of the house for 8 hours or more, it doesn’t make sense to keep an empty home at the same temperature you’d usually have. Generally, it’s encouraged to raise the thermostat by 5 degrees or so. That means that if you prefer a comfortable 72 degrees, try raising it to 76-77 while you’re at work.
But you could save even more if you’re willing to further adjust the temperature. As stated by the Department of Energy, you could save around 10% on your HVAC expenses by raising the temperature by about 7-10 degrees.
Best Thermostat Settings While Away from Home in Summer
If you leave for a lengthier trip in the heart of summer, you can make bigger adjustments. This helps you avoid using too much energy while still safeguarding your home from the issues that come with leaving it without air conditioning. Something like 5 degrees is suitable for shorter trips while closer to 10 degrees is best if you’ll be gone for 2 weeks or longer. If you enjoy keeping the house at 72 in the summer, 78-82 can offer the best results.
Best Thermostat Settings While On a Trip in Winter
To determine the most energy-efficient thermostat setting for a winter getaway, simply lower it by the same amount you would adjust 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 frequently your furnace operates.
A Smart Thermostat Can Help: Advantages of a Smart Thermostat
A great way to optimize your home’s HVAC system while out of the house is using a smart thermostat. This advanced type of programmable thermostat employs intelligent software to understand your typical comfort habits. It applies these preferences and makes automatic changes to the schedule for higher energy efficiency. And with Wi-Fi connectivity, you can remotely adjust your heating and cooling with a smart device like a phone or tablet.
Smart thermostats are packed with features to help you save on your energy bill. For instance, specific models can track electricity prices to increase heating or cooling when prices are more affordable. They can be used 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 considering investing in a smart thermostat, there are a variety of ways you can lower your costs, effectively 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.