Whether it’s a much-needed vacation or a lengthy trip for work, taking a trip means making plans for your home comfort system. You don't need it as long as you’re away, so you can adjust the temperature as needed to conserve your energy use. Simultaneously, you don’t want to just turn it off for the entire time you're out of the house.
For the most part, it’s better to leave your HVAC system running and adjust the temperature depending on the season. That way you can reduce energy costs without worrying about getting back to an uncomfortable home. We’ll explain why you should avoid turning your HVAC system off as well as the best thermostat settings for summer and winter.
Here’s Why You Shouldn’t Leave Your Thermostat on Hold
While you may be tempted to leave your HVAC system off before a trip, this can end up leading to costly problems by the time you come back. This is especially true when the weather will be severely hot or cold while you’re away from home.
As an example, turning the HVAC system off during the summer will sometimes produce very high humidity. Not only will your home feel gross when you have returned, but it could have also invited mold/mildew growth or pest infestations.
And over the winter, not using the furnace can lead to pipes freezing up or even bursting. It’s an awful feeling to come home from a nice trip only to find extensive water damage nearby a broken pipe.
Best Thermostat Settings While at Work
You can make temperature adjustments even as you come and go to work. Since you’re out of the house for about 8 hours or longer, it doesn’t help your monthly energy bill to keep an empty home heated or cooled as if you were there. Generally, it’s suggested to raise the thermostat by 5 degrees or more. Meaning that if you prefer a comfortable 72 degrees, try increasing it to 76-77 while you’re at work.
But you may save even more if you’re willing to further adjust the temperature. As reported by the Department of Energy, you may save around 10% on your HVAC costs by making an adjustment of 7-10 degrees.
Energy-Efficient Thermostat Settings While on a Trip in Summer
If you’re leaving for a lengthier trip in the middle of summer, you can make more significant adjustments. This helps you avoid using too much energy while still defending your home from the issues that come with leaving it uncooled. Around 5 degrees is recommended for short trips while a larger adjustment of 10 degrees is best if you’ll be gone for 2 weeks or longer. If you enjoy 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 vacation, consider lowering the temperature by the same amount you would increase it in summer. 68 is a common winter thermostat setting, so adjusting to 63-58 will protect your plumbing while minimizing how often your furnace runs.
A Smart Thermostat Can Help: Benefits of a Smart Thermostat
One of the best ways to manage your home’s HVAC system while away is with a smart thermostat. This advanced type of programmable thermostat employs intelligent software to track your typical comfort habits. It learns these preferences and makes automatic adjustments to the schedule for higher energy efficiency. And with Wi-Fi integration, you can remotely control your heating and cooling from a smartphone or tablet.
Smart thermostats are packed with features to help you save energy and lower costs. For example, certain models can observe electricity prices to boost 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 ideal tool to enhance how you control your comfort system. If you’re planning on 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 receive true peace of mind that your HVAC system won’t stir up any trouble while you’re away from home.