From a much-needed vacation or an extended trip for work, leaving home means making preparations for your heating and cooling system. You won’t be using it while you’re away, so you can adjust the temperature as necessary to limit your energy use. Just the same, you don’t want to just shut it down for the entire time you're out of the house.
In general, it’s best to leave your HVAC system going 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 review why you should avoid turning your HVAC system off as well as the ideal thermostat settings for different times of year.
Here’s Why You Don't Leave Your Thermostat on Hold
While you could be tempted to shut your HVAC system down before a trip, this will sometimes end up causing annoying problems by the time you return. This is especially true if the weather will be severely hot or cold while you’re away from home.
As an example, shutting the HVAC system off during the summer will sometimes cause very high humidity. Not only will your home feel like a swamp when you return, but it may have also encouraged mold/mildew growth or pest infestations.
And in the winter, letting your house get cold could lead to pipes icing over or even bursting. It’s an awful feeling to get home from a long trip only to discover considerable water damage near a broken pipe.
Best Thermostat Settings While at Work
You can make temperature adjustments even if you’re coming and going to work. Considering you’re not home for around 8 hours or so, it doesn’t help your monthly energy bill to keep an empty home the same temperature as when you're home. Generally, it’s recommended to adjust the thermostat by 5 degrees or more. That means that if you prefer a comfortable 72 degrees, think about increasing it to 76-77 while you’re gone.
But you could save even more if you’re willing to further adjust the temperature. According to the Department of Energy, you could save around 10% on your HVAC spending by raising the temperature by about 7-10 degrees.
Ideal Thermostat Settings While on a Trip in Summer
If you’re leaving for a longer trip in the heart of summer, you can make larger adjustments. This prevents wasting energy while still safeguarding your home from the hassles that come with leaving it un-air conditioned. Something like 5 degrees is appropriate for short trips while around 10 degrees is worthwhile if you’ll be gone for 2 weeks or more. If you prefer keeping the house at 72 in the summer, 78-82 can offer beneficial results.
Best Thermostat Settings While Away from Home in Winter
To try and find the most energy-efficient thermostat setting for a winter trip, 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 keep your plumbing safe while restricting how often your furnace runs.
A Smart Thermostat Can Help: Benefits of a Smart Thermostat
One of the best ways to regulate your home’s HVAC system while out of the house is using a smart thermostat. This special type of programmable thermostat employs intelligent software to track your usual comfort habits. It applies these preferences and makes automatic corrections to the schedule for higher energy efficiency. And with Wi-Fi compatibility, you can remotely access your heating and cooling with a mobile device or tablet.
Smart thermostats are stuffed with features to help you save even more. To provide an example, specific models can track electricity prices to boost heating or cooling when prices are more affordable. They can also work with high-efficiency, variable-speed equipment to optimize how long your HVAC system needs to run. It’s the perfect tool to simplify how you control your comfort system. If you’re considering 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 receive true peace of mind that your HVAC system won’t stir up any trouble while you’re gone.