Between a much-needed vacation or a lengthy trip for work, traveling means making plans for your HVAC system. You can't use it as long as you’re away, so you can adjust it as appropriate to minimize your energy use. Simultaneously, you don’t want to just shut it down for the entire time you're gone.
In general, it’s ideal to leave your HVAC system going and just make adjustments depending on the time of year. That way you can lower energy costs without stressing about getting 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.
This Is Why You Shouldn’t Leave Your Thermostat on Hold
While you may be wanting to leave your HVAC system off before a trip, this could end up causing annoying problems by the time you return. This is notably true in case the weather will be severely hot or cold while you’re gone.
For instance, switching the HVAC system down during the summer will sometimes cause very high humidity. Not only will your home feel like a swamp when you have returned, but it might have also encouraged mold/mildew growth or pest infestations.
And during the winter, letting your house get cold will sometimes lead to pipes icing over or even bursting. It’s never fun to come home from a nice trip only to come across extensive water damage close to a broken pipe.
Energy-Efficient Thermostat Settings While at Work
You can make temperature adjustments even if you’re coming and going to work. Because you’re away for about 8 hours or longer, it doesn’t help your monthly energy bill to keep an empty home at the same temperature you’d usually have. As a general rule, it’s encouraged 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 at work.
But you could save even more if you’re willing to further adjust the temperature. As reported by the Department of Energy, you could save about 10% on your HVAC expenses by making an adjustment of 7-10 degrees.
Best Thermostat Settings While on a Trip in Summer
If you're on an extended trip in the middle of summer, you can make larger adjustments. This ensures you don’t waste energy while still defending your home from the problems that come with leaving it uncooled. Around 5 degrees is recommended for short trips while around 10 degrees is ideal if you’ll be out of town for 2 weeks or longer. If you like keeping the house at 72 in the summer, 78-82 can offer great results.
Recommended Thermostat Settings While Away from Home in Winter
To try and find the ideal thermostat setting for a winter getaway, 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 frequently your furnace runs.
Smart Thermostats Are Even Better: Perks of Smart Thermostat Installation
A great way to manage your home’s HVAC system while away from home is by investing in a smart thermostat. This advanced type of programmable thermostat utilizes intelligent software to track your preferred comfort habits. It learns these preferences and makes automatic adjustments to the schedule for higher energy efficiency. And with Wi-Fi integration, you can remotely access your HVAC system using a smartphone or tablet.
Smart thermostats are stuffed with features to help you save on your energy bill. For instance, certain models can monitor electricity prices to bolster heating or cooling when prices are lowest. They are compatible with high-efficiency, variable-speed equipment to fine-tune how long your HVAC system should run. It’s the optimal tool to streamline how you control your comfort system. If you’re thinking about investing in a smart thermostat, there are a variety of ways you can lower your costs, in essence 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.