Between a relaxing vacation or an extended trip for work, taking a trip means making preparations for your heating and cooling system. You can't use it if you’re not home, so you can adjust the temperature as needed to minimize your energy use. At the same time, you don’t want to just leave it off for the entire duration of your trip.
In general, it’s best to leave your HVAC system running and just make adjustments depending on whether it's winter or summer. That way you can minimize energy costs without having to worry about returning to an uncomfortable home. We’ll walk you through why you should leave your HVAC system on as well as the ideal thermostat settings for summer and winter.
Here’s Why You Avoid Leaving Your Thermostat on Hold
While you might be tempted to turn your HVAC system off before a trip, this can end up stirring up big problems by the time you return. This is particularly true if the weather will be severely hot or cold while you’re gone.
For example, turning the HVAC system down in the summer could produce very high humidity. Not only will your home feel like a swamp when you come back, but it could have also stimulated mold/mildew growth or pest infestations.
And in the winter, letting your house get cold might lead to pipes icing over or even bursting. It’s never fun to return home from a long trip only to find considerable water damage close to a broken pipe.
Best Thermostat Settings While at Work
You can optimize the temperature even if you’re coming and going to work. Because you’re out of the house for around 8 hours or so, it doesn’t make sense to keep an empty home heated or cooled as if you were there. In general, it’s suggested to raise 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 at work.
But you can save even more if you’re willing to further adjust the temperature. According to the Department of Energy, you might save nearly 10% on your HVAC expenses by increasing the adjustment to 7-10 degrees.
Energy-Efficient Thermostat Settings While on Vacation in Summer
If you're on a lengthier trip in the heart 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. About 5 degrees is suitable for short trips while around 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 beneficial results.
Ideal Thermostat Settings While on Vacation in Winter
To try and find the ideal thermostat setting for a winter vacation, consider lowering the temperature 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 minimizing how often your furnace runs.
A Smart Thermostat Can Help: Perks of a Smart Thermostat
An ideal strategy to optimize your home’s HVAC system while out of the house is with a smart thermostat. This special type of programmable thermostat utilizes intelligent software to monitor your typical comfort habits. It gradually understands these preferences and makes automatic changes to the schedule for higher energy efficiency. And with Wi-Fi connectivity, you can remotely access your HVAC system with a smartphone or tablet.
Smart thermostats are loaded with features to help you save energy and lower costs. To provide an example, certain models can track electricity prices to boost heating or cooling when prices are more affordable. They are compatible with high-efficiency, variable-speed equipment to refine how long your HVAC system needs to run. It’s the ideal tool to streamline how you control your comfort system. If you’re considering investing in a smart thermostat, there are multiple ways you can reduce 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 away.