Whether it’s a much-needed vacation or a long trip for work, traveling means making preparations for your HVAC system. You won’t be using it as long as you’re not home, so you can make adjustments 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 ideal to leave your HVAC system running and adjust the temperature depending on the season. That way you can minimize energy costs without worrying about coming back to an uncomfortable home. We’ll review why you should leave your HVAC system on as well as the best thermostat settings for various times of year.
Here’s Why You Shouldn’t Leave Your Thermostat on Hold
While you might be wanting to turn your HVAC system off before a trip, this will sometimes end up stirring up big problems by the time you get back. This is especially true if the weather will be severely hot or cold while you’re out of town.
As an example, shutting the HVAC system down during the summer can lead to very high humidity. Not only will your home feel gross when you return, but it could have also encouraged mold/mildew growth or pest infestations.
And over the winter, leaving the furnace off might lead to pipes freezing 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.
Best Thermostat Settings While at Work
You can optimize the temperature even as you come and go to work. Because you’re away for about 8 hours or longer, it doesn’t make sense to keep an empty home the same temperature as when you're home. In general, it’s encouraged to turn up the thermostat by 5 degrees or more. That means that if you prefer a comfortable 72 degrees, consider raising it to 76-77 while you’re at work.
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.
Ideal Thermostat Settings While on Vacation in Summer
If you're on a lengthier trip in the middle of summer, you can make more significant adjustments. This helps you avoid using too much energy while still safeguarding your home from the hassles that come with leaving it without air conditioning. Something like 5 degrees is suitable for shorter trips while around 10 degrees is worthwhile if you’ll be away from home for 2 weeks or more. If you enjoy keeping the house at 72 in the summer, 78-82 can offer the best results.
Recommended Thermostat Settings While on Vacation in Winter
To determine the best thermostat setting for a winter trip, just lower the temperature by the same amount you would raise it in summer. 68 is a common winter thermostat setting, so adjusting to 63-58 will protect your plumbing while restricting how long your furnace operates.
A Smart Thermostat Can Help: Advantages of a Smart Thermostat
A great way to manage your home’s HVAC system while away is with a smart thermostat. This innovative type of programmable thermostat utilizes intelligent software to track your typical comfort habits. It learns these preferences and makes automatic changes to the schedule for higher energy efficiency. And with Wi-Fi compatibility, you can remotely adjust your heating and cooling from a smartphone or tablet.
Smart thermostats are stuffed with features to help you save even more. To provide an example, certain models can track electricity prices to bolster heating or cooling when prices are lower. They are compatible with high-efficiency, variable-speed equipment to refine how long your HVAC system has to run. It’s the perfect tool to enhance how you control your comfort system. If you’re considering investing in a smart thermostat, there are different ways you can bring down your costs, effectively getting a smart thermostat for free. The next time you leave for vacation, you can receive true peace of mind that your HVAC system won’t cause any trouble while you’re away.