Whether it’s a relaxing vacation or an extended trip for work, traveling means making preparations for your home comfort system. You can't use it if you’re on a trip, so you can adjust it as needed to minimize your energy use. At the same time, you don’t want to just leave it off for the entire time you're out of the house.
Instead, it’s best to leave your HVAC system going and just make adjustments 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 walk you through why you shouldn’t turn your HVAC system off as well as the best thermostat settings for various times of year.
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 stirring up annoying problems by the time you come back. This is particularly true in case the weather will be severely hot or cold while you’re gone.
For example, turning 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 could have also encouraged mold/mildew growth or pest infestations.
And during the winter, leaving the furnace off might lead to pipes freezing up or even bursting. It’s exhausting to return home from a nice trip only to find substantial water damage near a broken pipe.
Ideal Thermostat Settings While at Work
You can make temperature adjustments even if you’re coming and going to work. Because you’re not home for about 8 hours or longer, it doesn’t seem sensible to keep an empty home heated or cooled as if you were there. In general, it’s suggested to adjust the thermostat by 5 degrees or more. Meaning that if you prefer a comfortable 72 degrees, consider raising it to 76-77 while you’re at work.
But you may save even more if you’re willing to further adjust the temperature. As reported by the Department of Energy, you might save nearly 10% on your HVAC costs by making an adjustment of 7-10 degrees.
Best Thermostat Settings While on Vacation in Summer
If you're on a lengthier trip in the hottest part of summer, you can make more significant adjustments. This helps you avoid using too much energy while still protecting your home from the issues that come with leaving it without air conditioning. Around 5 degrees is suitable for shorter trips while closer to 10 degrees is worthwhile if you’ll be away from home for 2 weeks or longer. If you enjoy keeping the house at 72 in the summer, 78-82 will offer beneficial results.
Recommended Thermostat Settings While Away from Home in Winter
To determine the ideal thermostat setting for a winter vacation, just lower the temperature by the same amount you would adjust it in summer. 68 is a common winter thermostat setting, so turning it down to 63-58 will keep your plumbing safe while restricting how frequently your furnace runs.
A Smart Thermostat Can Help: Advantages of a Smart Thermostat
One of the best ways to optimize your home’s HVAC system while away is using a smart thermostat. This advanced type of programmable thermostat uses intelligent software to track your preferred comfort habits. It gradually understands these preferences and makes automatic adjustments to the schedule for higher energy efficiency. And with Wi-Fi compatibility, you can remotely adjust your heating and cooling with a mobile device or tablet.
Smart thermostats are loaded with features to help you save even more. For example, some models can monitor electricity prices to increase heating or cooling when prices are lowest. They can be used with high-efficiency, variable-speed equipment to fine-tune how long your HVAC system needs to run. It’s the optimal tool to streamline how you use your comfort system. If you’re considering investing in a smart thermostat, there are different ways you can reduce your costs, effectively 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 stir up any trouble while you’re gone.