Between a tropical vacation or a long trip for work, traveling means making preparations for your home comfort system. You don't need it as long as you’re on a trip, so you can make adjustments as needed to minimize your energy use. Simultaneously, 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 going and just raise or lower depending on whether it's winter or summer. That way you can reduce energy costs without having to worry about coming back to an uncomfortable home. We’ll walk you through why you should leave your HVAC system on as well as the most energy-efficient thermostat settings for summer and winter.
Here’s Why You Shouldn’t Leave Your Thermostat on Hold
While you might be wanting to leave your HVAC system off before a trip, this can end up causing annoying problems by the time you come back. This is notably true when the weather will be severely hot or cold while you’re out of town.
For example, turning the HVAC system down in the summer could lead to very high humidity. Not only will your home feel like a swamp when you come back, but it may have also stimulated mold/mildew growth or pest infestations.
And during the winter, letting your house get cold could lead to pipes icing over or even bursting. It’s an awful feeling to return home from a long trip only to find 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. Since you’re away for around 8 hours or so, it doesn’t seem sensible to keep an empty home at the same temperature you’d usually have. As a general rule, it’s suggested to raise the thermostat by 5 degrees or more. Meaning that if you prefer a comfortable 72 degrees, try adjusting it to 76-77 while you’re gone.
But you may save even more if you're open to further adjusting the temperature. As reported by the Department of Energy, you could save around 10% on your HVAC expenses by making an adjustment of 7-10 degrees.
Energy-Efficient Thermostat Settings While Away from Home in Summer
If you're on an extended 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 recommended for shorter trips while closer to 10 degrees is best if you’ll be out of town for 2 weeks or more. If you prefer keeping the house at 72 in the summer, 78-82 should offer great results.
Ideal Thermostat Settings While On a Trip in Winter
To figure out the most energy-efficient thermostat setting for a winter trip, simply lower it by the same amount you would adjust it in summer. 68 is a popular winter thermostat setting, so turning it down to 63-58 will protect your plumbing while restricting how often your furnace operates.
A Smart Thermostat Can Help: Benefits of a Smart Thermostat
A great way to manage your home’s HVAC system while away from home is with a smart thermostat. This innovative type of programmable thermostat employs intelligent software to monitor your usual comfort habits. It gradually understands these preferences and makes automatic changes to the schedule for higher energy efficiency. And with Wi-Fi integration, you can remotely control your HVAC system with a smart device like a phone or tablet.
Smart thermostats are loaded with features to help you save even more. To provide an example, specific models can monitor electricity prices to increase heating or cooling when prices are lowest. They can also work with high-efficiency, variable-speed equipment to fine-tune how long your HVAC system should run. It’s the perfect tool to enhance how you use your comfort system. If you’re considering investing in a smart thermostat, there are different ways you can reduce your costs, effectively 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.