From a tropical vacation or a lengthy trip for work, leaving home means making plans for your heating and cooling system. You won’t be using it if you’re on a trip, so you can adjust it as necessary to conserve your energy use. Just the same, you don’t want to just shut it down for the entire time you're gone.
For the most part, it’s ideal to leave your HVAC system running and just raise or lower depending on the time of year. That way you can minimize energy costs without having to worry about coming back to an uncomfortable home. We’ll explain why you shouldn’t turn your HVAC system off as well as the most energy-efficient thermostat settings for different times of year.
Here’s Why You Don't Leave Your Thermostat on Hold
While you may be wanting to turn your HVAC system off before a trip, this will sometimes end up leading to costly problems by the time you come back. This is especially true when the weather will be severely hot or cold while you’re away from home.
For instance, switching the HVAC system down in the summer can lead to very high humidity. Not only will your home feel like a swamp when you return, but it may have also stimulated mold/mildew growth or pest infestations.
And during the winter, not using the furnace could lead to pipes icing over or even bursting. It’s an awful feeling to return home from a nice trip only to come across extensive water damage near a broken pipe.
Energy-Efficient Thermostat Settings While at Work
You can make temperature adjustments even when you're just 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 at the same temperature you’d usually have. In general, it’s encouraged to raise the thermostat by 5 degrees or so. Meaning that if you prefer a comfortable 72 degrees, try increasing it to 76-77 while you’re at work.
But you could save even more if you're open to further adjusting the temperature. According to the Department of Energy, you could save around 10% on your HVAC spending by making an adjustment of 7-10 degrees.
Energy-Efficient Thermostat Settings While on Vacation in Summer
If you leave for a lengthier trip in the middle of summer, you can make larger adjustments. This ensures you don’t waste energy while still safeguarding your home from the issues that come with leaving it without air conditioning. About 5 degrees is suitable for short trips while closer to 10 degrees is best if you’ll be gone for 2 weeks or longer. If you enjoy keeping the house at 72 in the summer, 78-82 will offer great results.
Ideal Thermostat Settings While on Vacation in Winter
To figure out the ideal thermostat setting for a winter vacation, just lower the temperature by the same amount you would adjust it in summer. 68 is a common winter thermostat setting, so lowering it to 63-58 will prevent ice from forming on pipes while minimizing how long your furnace operates.
A Smart Thermostat Can Help: Advantages of a Smart Thermostat
An ideal strategy to regulate your home’s HVAC system while away from home is with a smart thermostat. This advanced type of programmable thermostat uses intelligent software to track your usual comfort habits. It learns these preferences and makes automatic corrections to the schedule for higher energy efficiency. And with Wi-Fi integration, you can remotely adjust your heating and cooling from a smart device like a phone or tablet.
Smart thermostats are loaded with features to help you save on your energy bill. For example, certain models can monitor electricity prices to boost heating or cooling when prices are more affordable. They can also work with high-efficiency, variable-speed equipment to refine how long your HVAC system has to run. It’s the optimal tool to simplify how you control your comfort system. If you’re planning on 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 enjoy true peace of mind that your HVAC system won’t stir up any trouble while you’re away.