Between a relaxing vacation or a long trip for work, traveling means making preparations for your HVAC system. You don't need it as long as you’re away, so you can adjust it as necessary to conserve your energy use. At the same time, you don’t want to just shut it down for the entire duration of your trip.
For the most part, it’s ideal to leave your HVAC system running and adjust the temperature depending on whether it's winter or summer. That way you can lower energy costs without stressing about getting back to an uncomfortable home. We’ll review why you should avoid turning your HVAC system off as well as the most energy-efficient thermostat settings for summer and winter.
Here’s Why You Avoid Leaving Your Thermostat on Hold
While you may be inclined to leave your HVAC system off before a trip, this will sometimes end up stirring up costly problems by the time you come back. This is notably true if the weather will be severely hot or cold while you’re away from home.
For example, shutting the HVAC system down in the summer can lead to very high humidity. Not only will your home feel muggy and uncomfortable when you come back, but it could have also stimulated mold/mildew growth or pest infestations.
And during the winter, leaving the furnace off might lead to pipes freezing or even bursting. It’s an awful feeling to get home from a vacation only to find considerable water damage near a broken pipe.
Energy-Efficient Thermostat Settings While at Work
You can make temperature adjustments even as you come and go to work. Because you’re not home for around 8 hours or so, it doesn’t seem sensible to keep an empty home at the same temperature you’d usually have. As a general rule, it’s suggested to adjust the thermostat by 5 degrees or so. That means that if you prefer a comfortable 72 degrees, think about adjusting it to 76-77 while you’re gone.
But you may save even more if you try further adjustments to the temperature. According to the Department of Energy, you may save around 10% on your HVAC expenses by raising the temperature by about 7-10 degrees.
Best Thermostat Settings While on a Trip in Summer
If you leave for a lengthier trip in the hottest part of summer, you can make larger adjustments. This prevents wasting energy while still protecting your home from the issues that come with leaving it uncooled. About 5 degrees is recommended for brief trips while a larger adjustment of 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 should offer the best results.
Recommended Thermostat Settings While on Vacation in Winter
To figure out the best thermostat setting for a winter vacation, just lower the temperature 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 limiting 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 away from home is using a smart thermostat. This innovative type of programmable thermostat employs intelligent software to monitor your usual comfort habits. It gradually understands these preferences and makes automatic corrections to the schedule for higher energy efficiency. And with Wi-Fi connectivity, you can remotely control your heating and cooling using a smart device like a phone or tablet.
Smart thermostats are packed with features to help you save energy and lower costs. To provide an example, some models can track electricity prices to boost heating or cooling when prices are lower. They can also work with high-efficiency, variable-speed equipment to refine how long your HVAC system needs to run. It’s the optimal tool to streamline how you use your comfort system. If you’re thinking about investing in a smart thermostat, there are multiple ways you can bring down 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 away.