From a much-needed vacation or a long trip for work, traveling means making plans for your heating and cooling system. You won’t be using it as long as you’re away, so you can adjust it as needed to limit your energy use. Simultaneously, you don’t want to just leave it off for the entire time you're gone.
In general, it’s ideal to leave your HVAC system going 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 shouldn’t turn your HVAC system off as well as the most energy-efficient thermostat settings for summer and winter.
Here’s Why You Shouldn’t Leave Your Thermostat on Hold
While you could be wanting to turn your HVAC system off before a trip, this could end up leading to big problems by the time you come back. This is especially true when the weather will be severely hot or cold while you’re out of town.
For example, turning the HVAC system down during the summer can lead to very high humidity. Not only will your home feel gross when you come back, but it could have also invited mold/mildew growth or pest infestations.
And over the winter, not using the furnace could lead to pipes freezing up or even bursting. It’s an awful feeling to return home from a long trip only to find substantial water damage close to 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 help your monthly energy bill to keep an empty home heated or cooled as if you were there. In general, it’s encouraged to adjust the thermostat by 5 degrees or so. This means that if you prefer a comfortable 72 degrees, consider increasing 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 costs by raising the temperature by about 7-10 degrees.
Ideal Thermostat Settings While on a Trip in Summer
If you leave for a lengthier trip in the heart of summer, you can make larger adjustments. This ensures you don’t waste energy while still defending your home from the issues that come with leaving it without air conditioning. Something like 5 degrees is appropriate for brief trips while a larger adjustment of 10 degrees is worthwhile if you’ll be away from home for 2 weeks or more. If you prefer keeping the house at 72 in the summer, 78-82 can offer the best results.
Ideal Thermostat Settings While Away from Home in Winter
To figure out the best thermostat setting for a winter trip, just lower the temperature by the same amount you would adjust it in summer. 68 is a common winter thermostat setting, so lowering it to 63-58 will keep your plumbing safe while restricting how frequently your furnace operates.
A Smart Thermostat Can Help: Perks of a Smart Thermostat
A great way to regulate your home’s HVAC system while away is by investing in a smart thermostat. This advanced type of programmable thermostat utilizes intelligent software to track your preferred comfort habits. It gradually understands these preferences and makes automatic changes to the schedule for maximum energy efficiency. And with Wi-Fi connectivity, you can remotely control your HVAC system from a smart device like a phone or tablet.
Smart thermostats are loaded with features to help you save energy and lower costs. For instance, certain models can track electricity prices to bolster 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 perfect 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, in essence getting a smart thermostat for free. The next time you leave for vacation, you can enjoy true peace of mind that your HVAC system won’t stir up any trouble while you’re gone.