From a tropical vacation or a long trip for work, leaving home means making plans for your home comfort system. You won’t be using it while you’re on a trip, so you can adjust it as needed to limit your energy use. At the same time, you shouldn't just turn it off for the entire time you're out of the house.
In general, it’s better to leave your HVAC system going and adjust the temperature depending on the season. That way you can reduce energy costs without stressing about returning to an uncomfortable home. We’ll explain why you should avoid turning your HVAC system off as well as the ideal thermostat settings for various times of year.
Here’s Why You Avoid Leaving Your Thermostat on Hold
While you might be inclined to shut your HVAC system down before a trip, this can end up leading to big problems by the time you return. This is especially true in case the weather will be severely hot or cold while you’re gone.
As an example, turning the HVAC system off during the summer can lead to very high humidity. Not only will your home feel muggy and uncomfortable when you have returned, but it might have also stimulated mold/mildew growth or pest infestations.
And during the winter, letting your house get cold could lead to pipes icing over or even bursting. It’s exhausting to get home from a vacation only to discover extensive water damage close to a broken pipe.
Energy-Efficient Thermostat Settings While at Work
You can make temperature adjustments even when you're just going to work. Because you’re out of the house for about 8 hours or longer, it doesn’t make sense to keep an empty home at the same temperature you’d usually have. Generally, it’s suggested to turn up the thermostat by 5 degrees or more. That means that if you prefer a comfortable 72 degrees, try adjusting it to 76-77 while you’re out.
But you may save even more if you're open to further adjusting 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.
Best Thermostat Settings While on a Trip in Summer
If you leave for an extended trip in the hottest part of summer, you can make more significant adjustments. This ensures you don’t waste energy while still defending your home from the issues that come with leaving it without air conditioning. Something like 5 degrees is recommended for brief trips while a larger adjustment of 10 degrees is worthwhile if you’ll be out of town for 2 weeks or more. If you like keeping the house at 72 in the summer, 78-82 should offer the best results.
Best Thermostat Settings While On a Trip in Winter
To determine the best thermostat setting for a winter trip, simply lower it by the same amount you would increase it in summer. 68 is a frequent winter thermostat setting, so adjusting to 63-58 will prevent ice from forming on pipes while restricting how often your furnace operates.
A Smart Thermostat Can Help: Advantages of a Smart Thermostat
One of the best ways 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 monitor your preferred comfort habits. It gradually understands these preferences and makes automatic adjustments to the schedule for higher energy efficiency. And with Wi-Fi integration, you can remotely adjust your HVAC system using a smart device like a phone or tablet.
Smart thermostats are stuffed with features to help you save even more. For instance, certain models can observe electricity prices to bolster heating or cooling when prices are lower. They can also work with high-efficiency, variable-speed equipment to optimize how long your HVAC system should run. It’s the ideal tool to simplify how you use your comfort system. If you’re planning on investing in a smart thermostat, there are a variety of ways you can lower your costs, effectively 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 cause any trouble while you’re away.