Between a much-needed vacation or a lengthy trip for work, traveling means making preparations for your HVAC system. You can't use it as long as you’re not home, so you can adjust it as needed to limit your energy use. Just the same, you shouldn't just turn it off for the entire time you're out of the house.
In general, it’s best to leave your HVAC system going and adjust the temperature depending on the time of year. That way you can lower energy costs without having to worry about returning to an uncomfortable home. We’ll review why you shouldn’t turn your HVAC system off as well as the ideal thermostat settings for summer and winter.
This Is Why You Avoid Leaving Your Thermostat on Hold
While you could be inclined to leave your HVAC system off before a trip, this could end up stirring up annoying problems by the time you return. This is particularly true when 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 produce very high humidity. Not only will your home feel gross when you have returned, but it may have also encouraged mold/mildew growth or pest infestations.
And during the winter, leaving the furnace off will sometimes lead to pipes freezing or even bursting. It’s exhausting to get home from a nice trip only to find substantial water damage nearby 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 out of the house 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 recommended to raise the thermostat by 5 degrees or more. That means that if you prefer a comfortable 72 degrees, consider increasing it to 76-77 while you’re out.
But you may save even more if you try further adjustments to the temperature. According to the Department of Energy, you may 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 a longer trip in the hottest part of summer, you can make more significant adjustments. This ensures you don’t waste energy while still protecting your home from the problems that come with leaving it un-air conditioned. Something like 5 degrees is appropriate for short trips while closer to 10 degrees is best 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 will offer the best results.
Ideal Thermostat Settings While Away from Home 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 frequent winter thermostat setting, so turning it down to 63-58 will prevent ice from forming on pipes while restricting how long your furnace runs.
Smart Thermostats Are Even Better: Perks of Smart Thermostat Installation
An ideal strategy to regulate your home’s HVAC system while away from home is by investing in a smart thermostat. This advanced type of programmable thermostat uses intelligent software to track your usual comfort habits. It gradually understands these preferences and makes automatic adjustments to the schedule for maximum energy efficiency. And with Wi-Fi connectivity, you can remotely control your heating and cooling from a smart device like a phone or tablet.
Smart thermostats are loaded with features to help you save energy and lower costs. For example, some models can track electricity prices to boost 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 needs to run. It’s the ideal tool to simplify how you control your comfort system. If you’re thinking about investing in a smart thermostat, there are different ways you can lower your costs, essentially 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 stir up any trouble while you’re away from home.