From a relaxing vacation or an extended trip for work, taking a trip means making preparations for your HVAC system. You won’t be using it while you’re not home, so you can make adjustments as necessary to limit your energy use. At the same time, you don’t want to just leave it off for the entire duration of your trip.
Instead, it’s better to leave your HVAC system on and just make adjustments depending on whether it's winter or summer. That way you can reduce energy costs without stressing 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 various times of year.
Here’s Why You Avoid Leaving Your Thermostat on Hold
While you may be wanting to turn your HVAC system off before a trip, this could end up causing big 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, turning the HVAC system off in the summer could cause very high humidity. Not only will your home feel gross when you return, but it could have also stimulated mold/mildew growth or pest infestations.
And during the winter, not using the furnace will sometimes lead to pipes freezing up or even bursting. It’s exhausting to come home from a nice trip only to come across substantial water damage close to a broken pipe.
Ideal Thermostat Settings While at Work
You can optimize the temperature even if you’re coming and going to work. Since you’re not home for about 8 hours or longer, it doesn’t seem sensible to keep an empty home the same temperature as when you're home. In general, it’s suggested to turn up the thermostat by 5 degrees or more. This means that if you prefer a comfortable 72 degrees, try raising it to 76-77 while you’re gone.
But you may save even more if you're open to further adjusting the temperature. According to the Department of Energy, you could save around 10% on your HVAC expenses by raising the temperature by about 7-10 degrees.
Energy-Efficient Thermostat Settings While on a Trip in Summer
If you're on a longer trip in the hottest part of summer, you can make more significant adjustments. This prevents wasting energy while still protecting your home from the hassles that come with leaving it uncooled. About 5 degrees is appropriate for short trips while around 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 should offer great results.
Ideal Thermostat Settings While On a Trip in Winter
To determine the best thermostat setting for a winter getaway, simply lower it by the same amount you would raise it in summer. 68 is a common winter thermostat setting, so lowering it to 63-58 will prevent ice from forming on pipes while minimizing how long your furnace operates.
A Smart Thermostat Can Help: Benefits of a Smart Thermostat
An ideal strategy to optimize your home’s HVAC system while out of the house is using a smart thermostat. This special type of programmable thermostat utilizes intelligent software to understand your preferred comfort habits. It learns these preferences and makes automatic changes to the schedule for maximum energy efficiency. And with Wi-Fi connectivity, you can remotely access your heating and cooling with a smartphone or tablet.
Smart thermostats are stuffed with features to help you save on your energy bill. For instance, some 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 optimize how long your HVAC system should run. It’s the perfect tool to simplify how you control your comfort system. If you’re planning on investing in a smart thermostat, there are multiple ways you can bring down your costs, effectively getting a smart thermostat for free. The next time you are away from home, you can receive true peace of mind that your HVAC system won’t cause any trouble while you’re away.