From a relaxing vacation or an extended trip for work, taking a trip means making plans for your HVAC system. You don't need it while you’re away, so you can adjust it as needed to limit your energy use. Simultaneously, you shouldn't just turn it off for the entire time you're out of the house.
In general, it’s ideal to leave your HVAC system going and adjust the temperature depending on the time of year. That way you can lower energy costs without worrying about returning to an uncomfortable home. We’ll explain why you should leave your HVAC system on as well as the most energy-efficient thermostat settings for various times of year.
Here’s Why You Avoid Leaving Your Thermostat on Hold
While you might be tempted to shut your HVAC system down before a trip, this will sometimes end up leading to big problems by the time you return. This is particularly true in case the weather will be severely hot or cold while you’re gone.
For instance, switching the HVAC system off during the summer will sometimes cause very high humidity. Not only will your home feel like a swamp when you return, but it may have also stimulated mold/mildew growth or pest infestations.
And in the winter, letting your house get cold could lead to pipes freezing up or even bursting. It’s never fun to return home from a vacation only to discover considerable water damage close to a broken pipe.
Energy-Efficient Thermostat Settings While at Work
You can make temperature adjustments even as you come and go 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 the same temperature as when you're home. Generally, it’s recommended to adjust the thermostat by 5 degrees or so. That means that if you prefer a comfortable 72 degrees, consider raising it to 76-77 while you’re gone.
But you could save even more if you try further adjustments to the temperature. As stated by the Department of Energy, you could save around 10% on your HVAC spending by increasing the adjustment to 7-10 degrees.
Best Thermostat Settings While on a Trip in Summer
If you’re leaving for an extended trip in the heart of summer, you can make larger adjustments. This prevents wasting energy while still protecting your home from the issues that come with leaving it without air conditioning. Something like 5 degrees is appropriate for short trips while a larger adjustment of 10 degrees is best if you’ll be away from home for 2 weeks or more. If you like keeping the house at 72 in the summer, 78-82 will offer great results.
Ideal Thermostat Settings While Away from Home in Winter
To try and find the most energy-efficient thermostat setting for a winter trip, consider lowering the temperature by the same amount you would increase it in summer. 68 is a common winter thermostat setting, so turning it down to 63-58 will keep your plumbing safe while minimizing how long your furnace runs.
A Smart Thermostat Can Help: Perks of a Smart Thermostat
One of the best ways to optimize 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 usual 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 access your HVAC system with a smartphone or tablet.
Smart thermostats are packed with features to help you save even more. For instance, specific models can track electricity prices to increase heating or cooling when prices are more affordable. They are compatible with high-efficiency, variable-speed equipment to fine-tune how long your HVAC system should run. It’s the optimal tool to streamline how you control your comfort system. If you’re thinking about investing in a smart thermostat, there are multiple ways you can lower your costs, essentially 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 away from home.