Whether it’s a relaxing vacation or a long trip for work, leaving home means making preparations for your home comfort system. You can't use it if you’re on a trip, so you can adjust it as necessary to minimize your energy use. At the same time, you shouldn't just shut it down for the entire duration of your trip.
In general, it’s better to leave your HVAC system on and just raise or lower depending on the season. That way you can lower energy costs without worrying about getting back to an uncomfortable home. We’ll explain why you shouldn’t turn your HVAC system off as well as the most energy-efficient thermostat settings for various times of year.
Here’s Why You Shouldn’t Leave Your Thermostat on Hold
While you could be wanting to turn your HVAC system off before a trip, this could end up leading to big problems by the time you get back. This is especially true if the weather will be severely hot or cold while you’re away from home.
For example, turning the HVAC system off in the summer will sometimes lead to very high humidity. Not only will your home feel like a swamp when you return, but it might have also stimulated mold/mildew growth or pest infestations.
And in the winter, letting your house get cold will sometimes lead to pipes freezing or even bursting. It’s never fun to return home from a vacation only to discover considerable water damage close to a broken pipe.
Best Thermostat Settings While at Work
You can optimize the temperature even if you’re coming and going to work. Because you’re away for 8 hours or more, it doesn’t seem sensible to keep an empty home heated or cooled as if you were there. In general, it’s recommended to adjust the thermostat by 5 degrees or so. Meaning that if you prefer a comfortable 72 degrees, try increasing it to 76-77 while you’re at work.
But you can save even more if you try further adjustments to the temperature. As reported by the Department of Energy, you may save nearly 10% on your HVAC spending by increasing the adjustment to 7-10 degrees.
Best Thermostat Settings While on Vacation in Summer
If you’re leaving 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 problems that come with leaving it un-air conditioned. Something like 5 degrees is recommended for brief trips while closer to 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 will offer the best results.
Best Thermostat Settings While on Vacation in Winter
To figure out the best thermostat setting for a winter trip, just lower the temperature by the same amount you would increase it in summer. 68 is a frequent winter thermostat setting, so lowering it to 63-58 will protect your plumbing while minimizing how long your furnace operates.
A Smart Thermostat Can Help: Benefits of a Smart Thermostat
One of the best ways to manage your home’s HVAC system while away is using a smart thermostat. This special type of programmable thermostat uses intelligent software to monitor your typical comfort habits. It applies these preferences and makes automatic adjustments to the schedule for maximum energy efficiency. And with Wi-Fi integration, you can remotely access your HVAC system from a smartphone or tablet.
Smart thermostats are loaded with features to help you save even more. For example, certain models can monitor 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 has 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 a variety of ways you can reduce your costs, effectively getting a smart thermostat for free. The next time you are away from home, you can enjoy true peace of mind that your HVAC system won’t stir up any trouble while you’re away.