From a tropical vacation or an extended trip for work, traveling means making plans for your heating and cooling system. You don't need it as long as you’re not home, so you can adjust it as needed to minimize your energy use. Just the same, you shouldn't just shut it down 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 the time of year. 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 various times of year.
This Is Why You Don't Leave Your Thermostat Alone
While you could be tempted to leave your HVAC system off before a trip, this can end up stirring up big problems by the time you return. This is notably true if the weather will be severely hot or cold while you’re away from home.
For example, turning the HVAC system off in the summer could produce very high humidity. Not only will your home feel gross when you come back, but it might have also invited mold/mildew growth or pest infestations.
And over the winter, leaving the furnace off could lead to pipes freezing or even bursting. It’s an awful feeling to return home from a nice trip only to discover 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. Since you’re not home for around 8 hours or so, it doesn’t help your monthly energy bill to keep an empty home heated or cooled as if you were there. Generally, it’s encouraged 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 can save even more if you try further adjustments to the temperature. As stated by the Department of Energy, you might save about 10% on your HVAC spending by raising the temperature by about 7-10 degrees.
Energy-Efficient Thermostat Settings While Away from Home in Summer
If you're on a lengthier trip in the hottest part of summer, you can make more significant adjustments. This helps you avoid using too much energy while still protecting your home from the issues that come with leaving it without air conditioning. Something like 5 degrees is appropriate for brief trips while closer to 10 degrees is worthwhile if you’ll be gone for 2 weeks or longer. If you prefer keeping the house at 72 in the summer, 78-82 will offer beneficial results.
Recommended Thermostat Settings While On a Trip in Winter
To try and find the ideal thermostat setting for a winter trip, 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 keep your plumbing safe while restricting how frequently your furnace operates.
Smart Thermostats Are Even Better: Advantages of a Smart Thermostat
One of the best ways to regulate your home’s HVAC system while away is using a smart thermostat. This innovative type of programmable thermostat employs intelligent software to track your usual comfort habits. It applies these preferences and makes automatic adjustments to the schedule for higher energy efficiency. And with Wi-Fi integration, you can remotely access your heating and cooling using a smartphone or tablet.
Smart thermostats are loaded with features to help you save even more. For example, specific models can observe electricity prices to bolster heating or cooling when prices are lowest. They can be used with high-efficiency, variable-speed equipment to refine how long your HVAC system has to run. It’s the optimal tool to simplify how you control your comfort system. If you’re thinking about investing in a smart thermostat, there are multiple ways you can reduce your costs, in essence 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 cause any trouble while you’re away.