From a relaxing vacation or a long trip for work, traveling means making plans for your heating and cooling system. You won’t be using it while you’re on a trip, so you can adjust it as appropriate to limit 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.
In general, it’s best to leave your HVAC system on and just raise or lower depending on whether it's winter or summer. That way you can lower energy costs without having to worry 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 Don't Leave Your Thermostat on Hold
While you may be inclined to leave your HVAC system off before a trip, this can end up causing annoying problems by the time you get back. This is notably true in case 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 cause very high humidity. Not only will your home feel muggy and uncomfortable when you have returned, but it could 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 never fun to come home from a nice trip only to find substantial water damage nearby a broken pipe.
Ideal Thermostat Settings While at Work
You can optimize the temperature even if you’re coming and going to work. Because you’re out of the house for about 8 hours or longer, it doesn’t help your monthly energy bill to keep an empty home heated or cooled as if you were there. As a general rule, it’s encouraged to raise the thermostat by 5 degrees or so. Meaning that if you prefer a comfortable 72 degrees, think about raising it to 76-77 while you’re at work.
But you can save even more if you’re willing to further adjust the temperature. As reported by the Department of Energy, you could save about 10% on your HVAC spending by raising the temperature by about 7-10 degrees.
Ideal Thermostat Settings While on Vacation in Summer
If you're on an extended trip in the middle of summer, you can make larger adjustments. This ensures you don’t waste energy while still protecting your home from the issues that come with leaving it un-air conditioned. Around 5 degrees is suitable for brief trips while closer to 10 degrees is ideal if you’ll be gone for 2 weeks or more. If you like keeping the house at 72 in the summer, 78-82 can offer the best results.
Ideal Thermostat Settings While On a Trip in Winter
To determine the best thermostat setting for a winter vacation, just lower the temperature by the same amount you would increase it in summer. 68 is a popular winter thermostat setting, so lowering it to 63-58 will protect your plumbing while minimizing how frequently your furnace operates.
A Smart Thermostat Can Help: Perks of a Smart Thermostat
One of the best ways to regulate your home’s HVAC system while out of the house is with a smart thermostat. This advanced type of programmable thermostat uses intelligent software to understand your typical comfort habits. It applies these preferences and makes automatic changes to the schedule for better energy efficiency. And with Wi-Fi connectivity, you can remotely control your HVAC system from a smartphone or tablet.
Smart thermostats are stuffed with features to help you save even more. For example, specific models can observe electricity prices to increase heating or cooling when prices are lower. They are compatible with high-efficiency, variable-speed equipment to refine how long your HVAC system has to run. It’s the ideal tool to streamline how you use your comfort system. If you’re considering investing in a smart thermostat, there are multiple 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.