Whether it’s a tropical vacation or a lengthy trip for work, leaving home means making plans for your HVAC system. You won’t be using it while you’re away, so you can adjust the temperature as needed to minimize your energy use. At the same time, you shouldn't just shut it down for the entire time you're gone.
In general, it’s best to leave your HVAC system running and just make adjustments depending on the time of year. That way you can lower energy costs without stressing about coming back to an uncomfortable home. We’ll walk you through why you shouldn’t turn your HVAC system off as well as the ideal thermostat settings for different times of year.
Here’s Why You Avoid Leaving Your Thermostat on Hold
While you might be inclined to shut your HVAC system down before a trip, this could end up leading to annoying problems by the time you get back. This is especially true when the weather will be severely hot or cold while you’re out of town.
As an example, shutting the HVAC system down during the summer can produce very high humidity. Not only will your home feel gross when you have returned, but it may have also encouraged mold/mildew growth or pest infestations.
And in the winter, leaving the furnace off can lead to pipes freezing or even bursting. It’s exhausting to return home from a vacation only to find substantial water damage near a broken pipe.
Best Thermostat Settings While at Work
You can adjust the temperature even when you're just going to work. Considering you’re away for around 8 hours or so, it doesn’t make sense to keep an empty home at the same temperature you’d usually have. As a general rule, it’s encouraged to raise the thermostat by 5 degrees or more. Meaning that if you prefer a comfortable 72 degrees, think about adjusting it to 76-77 while you’re at work.
But you may save even more if you're open to further adjusting the temperature. As stated by the Department of Energy, you might save nearly 10% on your HVAC spending by making an adjustment of 7-10 degrees.
Ideal Thermostat Settings While on a Trip in Summer
If you’re leaving for a lengthier trip in the hottest part of summer, you can make bigger adjustments. This helps you avoid using too much energy while still defending your home from the problems that come with leaving it un-air conditioned. About 5 degrees is appropriate for brief trips while around 10 degrees is worthwhile if you’ll be away from home for 2 weeks or longer. If you prefer keeping the house at 72 in the summer, 78-82 can offer great results.
Ideal Thermostat Settings While on Vacation in Winter
To figure out the best thermostat setting for a winter getaway, consider lowering the temperature by the same amount you would raise it in summer. 68 is a frequent winter thermostat setting, so adjusting to 63-58 will prevent ice from forming on pipes while restricting how frequently your furnace runs.
A Smart Thermostat Can Help: Advantages of a Smart Thermostat
A great way to optimize your home’s HVAC system while away is using a smart thermostat. This special type of programmable thermostat uses intelligent software to track your typical 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 HVAC system from a mobile device or tablet.
Smart thermostats are packed with features to help you save energy and lower costs. For instance, certain models can track electricity prices to increase heating or cooling when prices are lower. They are compatible with high-efficiency, variable-speed equipment to fine-tune how long your HVAC system should run. It’s the ideal tool to simplify how you control your comfort system. If you’re considering investing in a smart thermostat, there are multiple ways you can bring down your costs, in essence getting a smart thermostat for free. The next time you leave for vacation, you can appreciate true peace of mind that your HVAC system won’t stir up any trouble while you’re away.