From a tropical vacation or a long trip for work, leaving home means making preparations for your HVAC system. You won’t be using it if you’re away, so you can make adjustments as necessary to minimize your energy use. Just the same, you don’t want to just shut it down for the entire duration of your trip.
In general, it’s best to leave your HVAC system on and just make adjustments depending on the time of year. That way you can reduce energy costs without having to worry about getting back to an uncomfortable home. We’ll review why you should leave your HVAC system on as well as the most energy-efficient thermostat settings for summer and winter.
Here’s Why You Don't Leave Your Thermostat on Hold
While you could be tempted to turn your HVAC system off before a trip, this can end up leading to costly problems by the time you come back. This is particularly true in case the weather will be severely hot or cold while you’re away from home.
As an example, turning the HVAC system off in the summer could cause very high humidity. Not only will your home feel like a swamp when you have returned, but it may have also invited mold/mildew growth or pest infestations.
And over the winter, leaving the furnace off can lead to pipes freezing or even bursting. It’s an awful feeling to come home from a vacation only to find considerable water damage near a broken pipe.
Ideal Thermostat Settings While at Work
You can optimize the temperature even when you're just going to work. Since you’re out of the house for 8 hours or more, 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 raise the thermostat by 5 degrees or so. Meaning that if you prefer a comfortable 72 degrees, try raising it to 76-77 while you’re gone.
But you can save even more if you're open to further adjusting the temperature. According to the Department of Energy, you might save nearly 10% on your HVAC costs by raising the temperature by about 7-10 degrees.
Ideal Thermostat Settings While on a Trip in Summer
If you’re leaving for an extended trip in the middle of summer, you can make more significant adjustments. This prevents wasting energy while still protecting your home from the issues that come with leaving it without air conditioning. Something like 5 degrees is suitable for short trips while around 10 degrees is ideal if you’ll be away from home for 2 weeks or longer. If you like keeping the house at 72 in the summer, 78-82 should offer great results.
Ideal Thermostat Settings While Away from Home in Winter
To determine the ideal thermostat setting for a winter vacation, simply lower it by the same amount you would raise it in summer. 68 is a popular winter thermostat setting, so turning it down to 63-58 will prevent ice from forming on pipes while restricting how often your furnace operates.
A Smart Thermostat Can Help: Perks of a Smart Thermostat
An ideal strategy to manage your home’s HVAC system while out of the house is by investing in a smart thermostat. This innovative type of programmable thermostat employs intelligent software to monitor your preferred comfort habits. It learns these preferences and makes automatic corrections to the schedule for higher energy efficiency. And with Wi-Fi compatibility, you can remotely adjust your HVAC system from a smart device like a phone or tablet.
Smart thermostats are loaded with features to help you save energy and lower costs. To provide an example, some models can observe electricity prices to increase 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 thinking about investing in a smart thermostat, there are multiple ways you can bring down your costs, essentially 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 stir up any trouble while you’re away from home.