Whether it’s a tropical vacation or a lengthy trip for work, traveling means making preparations for your home comfort system. You won’t be using it while you’re on a trip, so you can adjust it as appropriate to limit your energy use. At the same time, you shouldn't just shut it down for the entire time you're gone.
For the most part, it’s better to leave your HVAC system on and just raise or lower depending on the time of year. That way you can minimize energy costs without stressing about returning to an uncomfortable home. We’ll explain why you shouldn’t turn your HVAC system off as well as the best thermostat settings for summer and winter.
Here’s Why You Avoid Leaving Your Thermostat on Hold
While you could be tempted to shut your HVAC system down before a trip, this can end up leading to big problems by the time you come back. This is particularly true if the weather will be severely hot or cold while you’re out of town.
As an example, switching the HVAC system off in the summer will sometimes produce very high humidity. Not only will your home feel gross when you have returned, but it could have also encouraged mold/mildew growth or pest infestations.
And over the winter, letting your house get cold can lead to pipes freezing or even bursting. It’s never fun to return home from a nice trip only to come across substantial water damage nearby a broken pipe.
Ideal Thermostat Settings While at Work
You can make temperature adjustments even when you're just going to work. Considering you’re away for about 8 hours or longer, it doesn’t make sense to keep an empty home at the same temperature you’d usually have. As a general rule, it’s recommended to raise the thermostat by 5 degrees or more. That means that if you prefer a comfortable 72 degrees, think about raising it to 76-77 while you’re out.
But you could save even more if you’re willing to further adjust the temperature. As stated by the Department of Energy, you could save nearly 10% on your HVAC spending by making an adjustment of 7-10 degrees.
Energy-Efficient Thermostat Settings While on a Trip in Summer
If you're on a lengthier trip in the hottest part of summer, you can make larger adjustments. This helps you avoid using too much energy while still defending your home from the issues that come with leaving it uncooled. About 5 degrees is recommended for shorter trips while closer to 10 degrees is ideal if you’ll be out of town for 2 weeks or longer. If you prefer keeping the house at 72 in the summer, 78-82 will offer great results.
Ideal Thermostat Settings While On a Trip in Winter
To determine the most energy-efficient thermostat setting for a winter trip, consider lowering the temperature by the same amount you would raise it in summer. 68 is a common winter thermostat setting, so lowering it to 63-58 will keep your plumbing safe while restricting how long your furnace runs.
A Smart Thermostat Can Help: Benefits of a Smart Thermostat
One of the best ways to manage your home’s HVAC system while out of the house is by investing in a smart thermostat. This special type of programmable thermostat utilizes intelligent software to understand your preferred comfort habits. It gradually understands these preferences and makes automatic changes to the schedule for better energy efficiency. And with Wi-Fi integration, you can remotely adjust your HVAC system using a smartphone or tablet.
Smart thermostats are loaded with features to help you save energy and lower costs. For instance, certain models can monitor electricity prices to bolster heating or cooling when prices are lower. They can also work with high-efficiency, variable-speed equipment to refine how long your HVAC system should run. It’s the ideal tool to enhance how you use your comfort system. If you’re thinking about investing in a smart thermostat, there are multiple ways you can lower your costs, essentially getting a smart thermostat for free. The next time you are away from home, you can appreciate true peace of mind that your HVAC system won’t stir up any trouble while you’re away from home.