Whether it’s a tropical vacation or a lengthy trip for work, traveling means making preparations for your home comfort system. You can't use it if you’re not home, so you can adjust it as appropriate to minimize your energy use. Simultaneously, you shouldn't just turn it off for the entire duration of your trip.
For the most part, it’s better to leave your HVAC system on and just make adjustments depending on whether it's winter or summer. That way you can minimize energy costs without worrying about coming back to an uncomfortable home. We’ll walk you through why you should avoid turning 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 could be tempted to turn your HVAC system off before a trip, this can end up leading to annoying problems by the time you get back. This is particularly true when the weather will be severely hot or cold while you’re out of town.
As an example, switching the HVAC system down during the summer will sometimes cause very high humidity. Not only will your home feel like a swamp when you have returned, but it might have also stimulated 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 never fun to get home from a long trip only to discover extensive water damage near a broken pipe.
Energy-Efficient Thermostat Settings While at Work
You can adjust the temperature even as you come and go to work. Since you’re out of the house for around 8 hours or so, it doesn’t seem sensible to keep an empty home at the same temperature you’d usually have. As a general rule, it’s recommended to turn up the thermostat by 5 degrees or so. Meaning that if you prefer a comfortable 72 degrees, try adjusting it to 76-77 while you’re at work.
But you can 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.
Energy-Efficient Thermostat Settings While Away from Home in Summer
If you’re leaving for a longer 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 issues that come with leaving it un-air conditioned. Something like 5 degrees is recommended for shorter trips while a larger adjustment of 10 degrees is best if you’ll be out of town for 2 weeks or more. If you prefer keeping the house at 72 in the summer, 78-82 can offer great results.
Recommended Thermostat Settings While On a Trip in Winter
To determine the ideal thermostat setting for a winter vacation, consider lowering the temperature by the same amount you would adjust it in summer. 68 is a common winter thermostat setting, so adjusting 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
An ideal strategy to manage your home’s HVAC system while out of the house is using a smart thermostat. This innovative type of programmable thermostat uses intelligent software to monitor your usual comfort habits. It learns these preferences and makes automatic corrections to the schedule for higher energy efficiency. And with Wi-Fi connectivity, you can remotely access your heating and cooling using a mobile device or tablet.
Smart thermostats are stuffed with features to help you save on your energy bill. For instance, some models can monitor electricity prices to increase heating or cooling when prices are lower. They are compatible with high-efficiency, variable-speed equipment to fine-tune how long your HVAC system has to run. It’s the optimal tool to enhance how you control your comfort system. If you’re thinking about investing in a smart thermostat, there are a variety of ways you can reduce your costs, in essence getting a smart thermostat for free. The next time you are away from home, you can enjoy true peace of mind that your HVAC system won’t cause any trouble while you’re gone.