Whether it’s a much-needed vacation or a lengthy trip for work, taking a trip means making preparations for your HVAC system. You can't use it as long as you’re not home, so you can make adjustments as needed to minimize your energy use. At the same time, you shouldn't just turn it off for the entire duration of your trip.
For the most part, it’s best to leave your HVAC system going and just make adjustments depending on the season. That way you can minimize energy costs without worrying about returning to an uncomfortable home. We’ll walk you through why you should leave your HVAC system on as well as the ideal thermostat settings for various times of year.
Here’s Why You Avoid Leaving Your Thermostat on Hold
While you could be inclined to turn your HVAC system off before a trip, this can end up stirring up costly problems by the time you come back. This is particularly true in case the weather will be severely hot or cold while you’re out of town.
As an example, shutting the HVAC system down during the summer can lead to very high humidity. Not only will your home feel muggy and uncomfortable when you return, but it may have also stimulated mold/mildew growth or pest infestations.
And in the winter, letting your house get cold can lead to pipes freezing up or even bursting. It’s an awful feeling to get home from a long trip only to find considerable water damage close to a broken pipe.
Best Thermostat Settings While at Work
You can make temperature adjustments even as you come and go to work. Since you’re away for 8 hours or more, it doesn’t seem sensible to keep an empty home at the same temperature you’d usually have. As a general rule, it’s recommended to adjust the thermostat by 5 degrees or so. That means that if you prefer a comfortable 72 degrees, try increasing it to 76-77 while you’re gone.
But you can save even more if you try further adjustments to the temperature. As stated by the Department of Energy, you may save around 10% on your HVAC expenses by making an adjustment of 7-10 degrees.
Best Thermostat Settings While on Vacation in Summer
If you're on an extended trip in the middle of summer, you can make bigger adjustments. This ensures you don’t waste energy while still defending your home from the hassles that come with leaving it without air conditioning. About 5 degrees is appropriate for short trips while around 10 degrees is worthwhile if you’ll be out of town for 2 weeks or more. If you enjoy keeping the house at 72 in the summer, 78-82 can offer the best results.
Best Thermostat Settings While on Vacation in Winter
To figure out the best thermostat setting for a winter getaway, consider lowering the temperature by the same amount you would raise it in summer. 68 is a popular winter thermostat setting, so adjusting to 63-58 will protect your plumbing while minimizing how often your furnace runs.
A Smart Thermostat Can Help: Benefits of a Smart Thermostat
A great way to optimize your home’s HVAC system while away is using a smart thermostat. This special 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 with a smartphone 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 also work with high-efficiency, variable-speed equipment to refine how long your HVAC system should run. It’s the optimal tool to enhance how you use your comfort system. If you’re thinking about investing in a smart thermostat, there are multiple ways you can reduce your costs, in essence getting a smart thermostat for free. The next time you leave for vacation, you can receive true peace of mind that your HVAC system won’t stir up any trouble while you’re away from home.