From a relaxing 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 away, so you can adjust the temperature as appropriate to limit your energy use. Just the same, you don’t want to just leave it off for the entire time you're gone.
For the most part, it’s best to leave your HVAC system going and just raise or lower depending on the time of year. That way you can reduce energy costs without worrying about coming back to an uncomfortable home. We’ll walk you through why you should avoid turning your HVAC system off as well as the best thermostat settings for various times of year.
Here’s Why You Avoid Leaving Your Thermostat on Hold
While you could be inclined to shut your HVAC system down before a trip, this can end up causing big problems by the time you come back. This is notably true when the weather will be severely hot or cold while you’re gone.
For instance, turning the HVAC system down in the summer could lead to very high humidity. Not only will your home feel like a swamp when you have returned, but it may have also stimulated mold/mildew growth or pest infestations.
And over the winter, leaving the furnace off could lead to pipes icing over or even bursting. It’s never fun to return home from a long trip only to come across substantial water damage close to a broken pipe.
Ideal Thermostat Settings While at Work
You can adjust the temperature even if you’re coming and going to work. Because you’re out of the house for about 8 hours or longer, it doesn’t help your monthly energy bill to keep an empty home the same temperature as when you're home. As a general rule, it’s recommended to adjust the thermostat by 5 degrees or more. That means that if you prefer a comfortable 72 degrees, think about adjusting it to 76-77 while you’re out.
But you could save even more if you're open to further adjusting the temperature. As stated by the Department of Energy, you could save around 10% on your HVAC spending by raising the temperature by about 7-10 degrees.
Energy-Efficient Thermostat Settings While Away from Home in Summer
If you leave for a longer trip in the heart of summer, you can make bigger adjustments. This helps you avoid using too much energy while still protecting your home from the hassles that come with leaving it un-air conditioned. Around 5 degrees is suitable for shorter trips while around 10 degrees is ideal if you’ll be out of town for 2 weeks or longer. If you enjoy keeping the house at 72 in the summer, 78-82 will offer beneficial results.
Best Thermostat Settings While On a Trip in Winter
To try and find the most energy-efficient thermostat setting for a winter trip, just lower the temperature by the same amount you would increase it in summer. 68 is a popular winter thermostat setting, so turning it down to 63-58 will protect your plumbing while limiting how often your furnace operates.
A Smart Thermostat Can Help: Advantages of a Smart Thermostat
A great way to regulate your home’s HVAC system while out of the house is by investing in a smart thermostat. This special type of programmable thermostat uses intelligent software to track your typical comfort habits. It applies these preferences and makes automatic adjustments to the schedule for better energy efficiency. And with Wi-Fi compatibility, you can remotely access your heating and cooling using 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 observe electricity prices to boost heating or cooling when prices are lower. They are compatible with high-efficiency, variable-speed equipment to fine-tune how long your HVAC system has to run. It’s the perfect tool to streamline 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, effectively getting a smart thermostat for free. The next time you are away from home, you can receive true peace of mind that your HVAC system won’t cause any trouble while you’re gone.