From a much-needed vacation or an extended trip for work, taking a trip means making preparations for your home comfort system. You won’t be using it as long as you’re on a trip, so you can adjust it as necessary to minimize your energy use. Just the same, you shouldn't just turn it off for the entire duration of your trip.
For the most part, it’s ideal to leave your HVAC system on and just raise or lower depending on whether it's winter or summer. That way you can minimize energy costs without having to worry about returning to an uncomfortable home. We’ll review why you shouldn’t turn your HVAC system off as well as the ideal thermostat settings for summer and winter.
Here’s Why You Don't Leave Your Thermostat on Hold
While you may be wanting to shut your HVAC system down before a trip, this could end up stirring up costly problems by the time you come back. This is especially true when the weather will be severely hot or cold while you’re gone.
For example, switching the HVAC system down during the summer could cause very high humidity. Not only will your home feel gross when you return, but it could have also stimulated mold/mildew growth or pest infestations.
And over the winter, not using the furnace could lead to pipes freezing up or even bursting. It’s never fun to return home from a long trip only to find substantial water damage nearby a broken pipe.
Ideal Thermostat Settings While at Work
You can make temperature adjustments even if you’re coming and going to work. Considering you’re out of the house for about 8 hours or longer, it doesn’t seem sensible to keep an empty home at the same temperature you’d usually have. Generally, it’s recommended to adjust the thermostat by 5 degrees or so. That means that if you prefer a comfortable 72 degrees, consider raising it to 76-77 while you’re gone.
But you may save even more if you’re willing to further adjust the temperature. According to the Department of Energy, you may save nearly 10% on your HVAC expenses by raising the temperature by about 7-10 degrees.
Best Thermostat Settings While on Vacation in Summer
If you're on an extended trip in the heart of summer, you can make bigger adjustments. This prevents wasting energy while still defending your home from the problems that come with leaving it without air conditioning. Something like 5 degrees is recommended for shorter trips while around 10 degrees is ideal if you’ll be gone for 2 weeks or longer. If you enjoy keeping the house at 72 in the summer, 78-82 can offer the best results.
Ideal Thermostat Settings While On a Trip in Winter
To determine the ideal thermostat setting for a winter vacation, just lower the temperature by the same amount you would increase it in summer. 68 is a common winter thermostat setting, so lowering it to 63-58 will prevent ice from forming on pipes while minimizing how long your furnace runs.
A Smart Thermostat Can Help: Perks of a Smart Thermostat
One of the best ways to manage your home’s HVAC system while away is using a smart thermostat. This special type of programmable thermostat utilizes intelligent software to track your preferred comfort habits. It learns these preferences and makes automatic corrections to the schedule for better energy efficiency. And with Wi-Fi connectivity, you can remotely adjust your HVAC system from a mobile device or tablet.
Smart thermostats are loaded with features to help you save even more. For instance, some 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 refine how long your HVAC system should run. It’s the perfect tool to simplify how you control your comfort system. If you’re thinking about investing in a smart thermostat, there are a variety of ways you can bring down your costs, effectively 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 cause any trouble while you’re away.