Whether it’s a tropical vacation or an extended trip for work, traveling means making plans for your home comfort system. You can't use it as long as you’re not home, so you can adjust it as necessary to limit your energy use. At the same time, you shouldn't just turn it off for the entire duration of your trip.
Instead, it’s best to leave your HVAC system going and adjust the temperature depending on whether it's winter or summer. That way you can lower energy costs without worrying about returning to an uncomfortable home. We’ll review why you should leave your HVAC system on as well as the best thermostat settings for summer and winter.
Here’s Why You Don't Leave Your Thermostat on Hold
While you might be tempted to leave your HVAC system off before a trip, this can end up stirring up big problems by the time you come back. This is notably true in case the weather will be severely hot or cold while you’re out of town.
For instance, switching the HVAC system down in the summer will sometimes produce very high humidity. Not only will your home feel muggy and uncomfortable when you have returned, but it may have also invited mold/mildew growth or pest infestations.
And over the winter, letting your house get cold could lead to pipes freezing up or even bursting. It’s exhausting to get home from a nice trip only to find substantial water damage close to a broken pipe.
Best Thermostat Settings While at Work
You can make temperature adjustments even when you're just going to work. Since you’re out of the house for 8 hours or more, it doesn’t make sense to keep an empty home at the same temperature you’d usually have. As a general rule, it’s suggested to turn up the thermostat by 5 degrees or so. This means that if you prefer a comfortable 72 degrees, think about increasing it to 76-77 while you’re out.
But you may 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 costs by making an adjustment of 7-10 degrees.
Energy-Efficient Thermostat Settings While on a Trip in Summer
If you leave for a lengthier trip in the middle of summer, you can make larger adjustments. This prevents wasting energy while still safeguarding your home from the problems that come with leaving it without air conditioning. Something like 5 degrees is recommended for short trips while closer to 10 degrees is worthwhile if you’ll be gone for 2 weeks or more. If you like keeping the house at 72 in the summer, 78-82 should offer great results.
Recommended Thermostat Settings While on Vacation in Winter
To try and find the most energy-efficient thermostat setting for a winter vacation, consider lowering 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 limiting how long your furnace operates.
A Smart Thermostat Can Help: Perks of a Smart Thermostat
One of the best ways to manage your home’s HVAC system while away is with a smart thermostat. This special type of programmable thermostat utilizes intelligent software to understand your typical comfort habits. It gradually understands these preferences and makes automatic changes to the schedule for maximum energy efficiency. And with Wi-Fi compatibility, you can remotely control your heating and cooling from a smart device like a phone or tablet.
Smart thermostats are loaded with features to help you save even more. To provide an example, some models can observe electricity prices to increase heating or cooling when prices are lowest. They can be used with high-efficiency, variable-speed equipment to refine how long your HVAC system needs to run. It’s the perfect tool to simplify how you control your comfort system. If you’re planning on investing in a smart thermostat, there are different ways you can lower your costs, in essence getting a smart thermostat for free. The next time you leave for vacation, you can enjoy true peace of mind that your HVAC system won’t stir up any trouble while you’re gone.