From a tropical vacation or a lengthy trip for work, leaving home means making plans for your heating and cooling system. You can't use it if you’re not home, so you can adjust the temperature as appropriate to conserve your energy use. At the same time, you shouldn't just turn it off for the entire time you're gone.
Instead, it’s ideal to leave your HVAC system going and just raise or lower depending on whether it's winter or summer. That way you can minimize energy costs without worrying about returning to an uncomfortable home. We’ll review why you shouldn’t turn your HVAC system off as well as the best thermostat settings for different times of year.
Here’s Why You Avoid Leaving Your Thermostat on Hold
While you might be wanting to leave your HVAC system off before a trip, this can end up stirring up costly problems by the time you return. This is especially true if the weather will be severely hot or cold while you’re out of town.
For example, turning the HVAC system off in the summer will sometimes lead to very high humidity. Not only will your home feel gross when you come back, but it might have also stimulated mold/mildew growth or pest infestations.
And in the winter, leaving the furnace off could lead to pipes freezing or even bursting. It’s exhausting to get home from a long trip only to discover extensive water damage near a broken pipe.
Ideal Thermostat Settings While at Work
You can adjust the temperature even if you’re coming and going to work. Considering you’re not home for about 8 hours or longer, it doesn’t seem sensible to keep an empty home the same temperature as when you're home. As a general rule, it’s suggested to adjust the thermostat by 5 degrees or more. That means 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 willing to further adjust the temperature. As stated by the Department of Energy, you could save around 10% on your HVAC spending by increasing the adjustment to 7-10 degrees.
Ideal Thermostat Settings While on Vacation in Summer
If you're on an extended trip in the hottest part of summer, you can make larger adjustments. This ensures you don’t waste energy while still protecting your home from the problems that come with leaving it without air conditioning. Something like 5 degrees is recommended for brief trips while closer to 10 degrees is ideal if you’ll be away from home for 2 weeks or more. If you like keeping the house at 72 in the summer, 78-82 should offer great results.
Recommended Thermostat Settings While Away from Home in Winter
To figure out the ideal thermostat setting for a winter vacation, 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 limiting how often your furnace operates.
A Smart Thermostat Can Help: Perks of a Smart Thermostat
An ideal strategy to optimize your home’s HVAC system while out of the house is by investing in a smart thermostat. This innovative type of programmable thermostat employs intelligent software to understand your typical comfort habits. It gradually understands these preferences and makes automatic changes to the schedule for maximum energy efficiency. And with Wi-Fi integration, you can remotely access your heating and cooling using a mobile device or tablet.
Smart thermostats are loaded with features to help you save even more. For example, some models can monitor electricity prices to bolster heating or cooling when prices are lowest. They are compatible with high-efficiency, variable-speed equipment to optimize how long your HVAC system needs to run. It’s the ideal tool to simplify how you use your comfort system. If you’re considering investing in a smart thermostat, there are different ways you can lower your costs, essentially getting a smart thermostat for free. The next time you leave for vacation, you can enjoy true peace of mind that your HVAC system won’t stir up any trouble while you’re away from home.