From a much-needed vacation or a long trip for work, taking a trip means making plans for your home comfort system. You don't need it while you’re not home, so you can adjust the temperature as appropriate to minimize your energy use. Just the same, you don’t want to just shut it down for the entire duration of your trip.
Instead, it’s ideal to leave your HVAC system running and just make adjustments depending on whether it's winter or summer. That way you can reduce energy costs without worrying about returning 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.
This Is Why You Avoid Leaving Your Thermostat Alone
While you could be wanting to leave your HVAC system off before a trip, this will sometimes end up stirring up costly problems by the time you come back. This is particularly true when the weather will be severely hot or cold while you’re away from home.
For instance, turning the HVAC system off in the summer can cause very high humidity. Not only will your home feel like a swamp when you come back, but it might have also encouraged mold/mildew growth or pest infestations.
And over the winter, leaving the furnace off will sometimes lead to pipes freezing up or even bursting. It’s an awful feeling to come home from a nice trip only to come across considerable water damage close to a broken pipe.
Best Thermostat Settings While at Work
You can make temperature adjustments even as you come and go to work. Because you’re away for about 8 hours or longer, it doesn’t make sense to keep an empty home at the same temperature you’d usually have. Generally, it’s recommended to raise the thermostat by 5 degrees or so. That means that if you prefer a comfortable 72 degrees, try 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 may save around 10% on your HVAC expenses by increasing the adjustment to 7-10 degrees.
Energy-Efficient Thermostat Settings While on a Trip in Summer
If you’re leaving for an extended trip in the heart of summer, you can make more significant adjustments. This helps you avoid using too much energy while still safeguarding your home from the issues that come with leaving it without air conditioning. Around 5 degrees is recommended for short trips while around 10 degrees is best if you’ll be away from home for 2 weeks or more. If you prefer keeping the house at 72 in the summer, 78-82 can offer great results.
Best Thermostat Settings While On a Trip in Winter
To determine the best thermostat setting for a winter trip, just lower the temperature by the same amount you would raise it in summer. 68 is a popular winter thermostat setting, so turning it down to 63-58 will protect your plumbing while limiting how long 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 is with a smart thermostat. This innovative type of programmable thermostat uses intelligent software to understand your typical comfort habits. It applies these preferences and makes automatic corrections to the schedule for better energy efficiency. And with Wi-Fi connectivity, you can remotely control your heating and cooling with a mobile device or tablet.
Smart thermostats are loaded with features to help you save energy and lower costs. For example, specific models can monitor electricity prices to boost 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 streamline how you control your comfort system. If you’re considering investing in a smart thermostat, there are different ways you can bring down your costs, essentially getting a smart thermostat for free. The next time you are away from home, you can enjoy true peace of mind that your HVAC system won’t stir up any trouble while you’re away from home.