From a tropical vacation or a long trip for work, leaving home means making preparations for your heating and cooling system. You won’t be using it as long as you’re away, so you can make adjustments as necessary to conserve your energy use. At the same time, you shouldn't just turn it off for the entire duration of your trip.
For the most part, it’s better to leave your HVAC system going and just make adjustments depending on whether it's winter or summer. That way you can lower energy costs without having to worry about coming back to an uncomfortable home. We’ll explain why you should avoid turning your HVAC system off as well as the most energy-efficient thermostat settings for different times of year.
Here’s Why You Shouldn’t Leave Your Thermostat on Hold
While you may be inclined to turn your HVAC system off before a trip, this can end up stirring up big problems by the time you return. This is particularly true when the weather will be severely hot or cold while you’re away from home.
As an example, shutting the HVAC system down during the summer could produce very high humidity. Not only will your home feel gross when you have returned, but it may have also invited mold/mildew growth or pest infestations.
And during the winter, leaving the furnace off can lead to pipes freezing or even bursting. It’s an awful feeling to come home from a nice trip only to discover substantial water damage near a broken pipe.
Best Thermostat Settings While at Work
You can optimize the temperature even when you're just going to work. Considering you’re out of the house for 8 hours or more, it doesn’t seem sensible to keep an empty home heated or cooled as if you were there. As a general rule, it’s recommended to raise the thermostat by 5 degrees or so. Meaning that if you prefer a comfortable 72 degrees, try increasing it to 76-77 while you’re at work.
But you can save even more if you're open to further adjusting the temperature. As reported by the Department of Energy, you might save nearly 10% on your HVAC expenses by making an adjustment of 7-10 degrees.
Energy-Efficient Thermostat Settings While Away from Home in Summer
If you're on an extended trip in the middle of summer, you can make bigger adjustments. This prevents wasting energy while still defending your home from the hassles that come with leaving it without air conditioning. About 5 degrees is suitable for shorter 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 will offer great results.
Best Thermostat Settings While On a Trip in Winter
To try and find the most energy-efficient thermostat setting for a winter getaway, just lower 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 keep your plumbing safe while restricting how often your furnace runs.
A Smart Thermostat Can Help: Benefits of a Smart Thermostat
A great way to regulate your home’s HVAC system while out of the house is by investing in a smart thermostat. This advanced type of programmable thermostat employs intelligent software to monitor your usual comfort habits. It learns these preferences and makes automatic changes to the schedule for better energy efficiency. And with Wi-Fi integration, you can remotely control your HVAC system from a smart device like a phone or tablet.
Smart thermostats are stuffed with features to help you save even more. For example, certain models can observe electricity prices to boost heating or cooling when prices are lower. They can be used with high-efficiency, variable-speed equipment to fine-tune how long your HVAC system needs to run. It’s the ideal tool to simplify 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, effectively getting a smart thermostat for free. The next time you are away from home, you can receive true peace of mind that your HVAC system won’t stir up any trouble while you’re away from home.