Whether it’s a much-needed vacation or a long trip for work, leaving home means making preparations for your home comfort system. You won’t be using it if you’re not home, so you can adjust the temperature as appropriate to limit your energy use. At the same time, you shouldn't just leave it off for the entire duration of your trip.
Instead, it’s ideal to leave your HVAC system on and adjust the temperature depending on whether it's winter or summer. That way you can minimize energy costs without having to worry about getting back to an uncomfortable home. We’ll walk you through why you should leave your HVAC system on as well as the ideal thermostat settings for different times of year.
Here’s Why You Don't Leave Your Thermostat on Hold
While you may be tempted to leave your HVAC system off before a trip, this can 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 away from home.
For example, turning the HVAC system off during the summer can produce very high humidity. Not only will your home feel like a swamp when you have returned, but it could have also encouraged mold/mildew growth or pest infestations.
And in the winter, leaving the furnace off might lead to pipes freezing or even bursting. It’s never fun to come home from a nice trip only to discover substantial water damage close to a broken pipe.
Best Thermostat Settings While at Work
You can make temperature adjustments even if you’re coming and going to work. Because you’re away for around 8 hours or so, it doesn’t help your monthly energy bill to keep an empty home heated or cooled as if you were there. Generally, it’s recommended to adjust the thermostat by 5 degrees or more. This means that if you prefer a comfortable 72 degrees, consider raising it to 76-77 while you’re at work.
But you could save even more if you’re willing to further adjust the temperature. As reported by the Department of Energy, you could save around 10% on your HVAC spending by increasing the adjustment to 7-10 degrees.
Ideal Thermostat Settings While Away from Home in Summer
If you leave for an extended trip in the hottest part of summer, you can make larger adjustments. This helps you avoid using too much energy while still defending your home from the hassles that come with leaving it un-air conditioned. About 5 degrees is recommended for shorter trips while closer to 10 degrees is ideal if you’ll be gone for 2 weeks or more. If you prefer keeping the house at 72 in the summer, 78-82 will offer beneficial results.
Recommended Thermostat Settings While On a Trip in Winter
To try and find the most energy-efficient 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 lowering it to 63-58 will prevent ice from forming on pipes while limiting how often your furnace runs.
A Smart Thermostat Can Help: Advantages of a Smart Thermostat
One of the best ways to optimize your home’s HVAC system while away is with a smart thermostat. This advanced type of programmable thermostat utilizes intelligent software to monitor your typical comfort habits. It gradually understands these preferences and makes automatic changes to the schedule for better energy efficiency. And with Wi-Fi compatibility, you can remotely access your HVAC system with a smartphone or tablet.
Smart thermostats are loaded with features to help you save even more. For example, certain models can observe electricity prices to increase heating or cooling when prices are lower. They are compatible with high-efficiency, variable-speed equipment to optimize how long your HVAC system needs to run. It’s the perfect tool to enhance how you use your comfort system. If you’re planning on investing in a smart thermostat, there are different ways you can reduce your costs, in essence 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 cause any trouble while you’re gone.