Whether it’s a much-needed vacation or a lengthy trip for work, leaving home 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 necessary to limit your energy use. Just the same, you don’t want to just turn it off for the entire duration of your trip.
In general, it’s best to leave your HVAC system on and adjust the temperature depending on the season. That way you can minimize energy costs without worrying about coming back to an uncomfortable home. We’ll explain why you should leave your HVAC system on as well as the ideal thermostat settings for different times of year.
Here’s Why You Shouldn’t Leave Your Thermostat on Hold
While you might be wanting to shut your HVAC system down before a trip, this could end up causing big problems by the time you get back. This is particularly true when the weather will be severely hot or cold while you’re away from home.
For instance, switching the HVAC system off in the summer can lead to very high humidity. Not only will your home feel like a swamp when you have returned, but it might have also invited mold/mildew growth or pest infestations.
And in the winter, leaving the furnace off might lead to pipes icing over or even bursting. It’s exhausting to come home from a long trip only to find substantial water damage near a broken pipe.
Best Thermostat Settings While at Work
You can adjust the temperature even as you come and go to work. Since you’re away 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 suggested 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 gone.
But you could save even more if you’re willing to further adjust the temperature. As reported by the Department of Energy, you may save around 10% on your HVAC costs by increasing the adjustment to 7-10 degrees.
Best Thermostat Settings While Away from Home in Summer
If you leave for an extended trip in the hottest part of summer, you can make bigger adjustments. This prevents wasting energy while still safeguarding your home from the problems that come with leaving it without air conditioning. About 5 degrees is appropriate for brief trips while around 10 degrees is ideal 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 great results.
Recommended Thermostat Settings While on Vacation in Winter
To determine the ideal thermostat setting for a winter getaway, just lower the temperature by the same amount you would raise it in summer. 68 is a popular winter thermostat setting, so lowering it to 63-58 will prevent ice from forming on pipes while limiting how frequently your furnace runs.
A Smart Thermostat Can Help: Perks of a Smart Thermostat
An ideal strategy to optimize your home’s HVAC system while away from home is by investing in a smart thermostat. This advanced type of programmable thermostat utilizes intelligent software to understand your usual comfort habits. It gradually understands these preferences and makes automatic corrections to the schedule for higher energy efficiency. And with Wi-Fi compatibility, you can remotely control your HVAC system using a smart device like a phone or tablet.
Smart thermostats are loaded with features to help you save energy and lower costs. To provide an example, some models can observe electricity prices to increase heating or cooling when prices are more affordable. They can be used with high-efficiency, variable-speed equipment to refine how long your HVAC system should run. It’s the ideal tool to enhance how you use your comfort system. If you’re planning on investing in a smart thermostat, there are different ways you can bring down your costs, effectively 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 cause any trouble while you’re away.