Between a relaxing vacation or a lengthy trip for work, traveling means making plans for your heating and cooling system. You won’t be using it as long as you’re not home, so you can adjust the temperature as necessary to minimize your energy use. At the same time, you don’t want to just turn it off for the entire time you're gone.
For the most part, it’s ideal to leave your HVAC system going and adjust the temperature depending on whether it's winter or summer. That way you can minimize energy costs without worrying about getting back to an uncomfortable home. We’ll explain 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 Shouldn’t Leave Your Thermostat on Hold
While you could be tempted to shut your HVAC system down before a trip, this could end up causing costly problems by the time you come back. This is especially true if the weather will be severely hot or cold while you’re gone.
As an example, turning the HVAC system down in the summer could produce very high humidity. Not only will your home feel gross when you have returned, but it might have also encouraged mold/mildew growth or pest infestations.
And over the winter, letting your house get cold might lead to pipes icing over or even bursting. It’s an awful feeling to get home from a long trip only to find considerable water damage near a broken pipe.
Energy-Efficient Thermostat Settings While at Work
You can make temperature adjustments even if you’re coming and going to work. Considering you’re not home for around 8 hours or so, it doesn’t make sense to keep an empty home the same temperature as when you're home. As a general rule, it’s encouraged to adjust the thermostat by 5 degrees or so. That means that if you prefer a comfortable 72 degrees, consider raising it to 76-77 while you’re at work.
But you can save even more if you try further adjustments to the temperature. According to the Department of Energy, you might save around 10% on your HVAC spending by increasing the adjustment to 7-10 degrees.
Ideal Thermostat Settings While on Vacation in Summer
If you leave for a longer trip in the heart of summer, you can make more significant adjustments. This helps you avoid using too much energy while still protecting your home from the hassles that come with leaving it un-air conditioned. Something like 5 degrees is suitable for brief trips while around 10 degrees is best if you’ll be away from home for 2 weeks or more. If you like keeping the house at 72 in the summer, 78-82 can offer great results.
Best Thermostat Settings While On a Trip in Winter
To determine the best thermostat setting for a winter trip, just lower the temperature by the same amount you would raise it in summer. 68 is a common winter thermostat setting, so lowering it to 63-58 will keep your plumbing safe while limiting how often your furnace operates.
A Smart Thermostat Can Help: Perks of a Smart Thermostat
An ideal strategy to manage your home’s HVAC system while away is with a smart thermostat. This innovative type of programmable thermostat employs intelligent software to understand your usual comfort habits. It applies these preferences and makes automatic adjustments to the schedule for maximum energy efficiency. And with Wi-Fi connectivity, you can remotely access your HVAC system using a mobile device or tablet.
Smart thermostats are packed with features to help you save on your energy bill. For instance, some models can observe electricity prices to increase heating or cooling when prices are lower. They can be used with high-efficiency, variable-speed equipment to refine how long your HVAC system needs to run. It’s the ideal tool to streamline how you control your comfort system. If you’re thinking about investing in a smart thermostat, there are multiple ways you can reduce your costs, essentially 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.