Whether it’s a relaxing vacation or a long trip for work, leaving home means making plans for your heating and cooling system. You can't use it as long as you’re away, so you can adjust the temperature as appropriate to minimize your energy use. At the same time, you shouldn't just turn it off for the entire time you're out of the house.
In general, it’s ideal to leave your HVAC system on and just make adjustments depending on the season. That way you can minimize energy costs without stressing about coming back to an uncomfortable home. We’ll explain why you should leave your HVAC system on as well as the ideal thermostat settings for various times of year.
Here’s Why You Don'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 annoying problems by the time you return. This is particularly true in case the weather will be severely hot or cold while you’re gone.
As an example, turning the HVAC system off during the summer will sometimes cause very high humidity. Not only will your home feel muggy and uncomfortable when you come back, but it may have also invited mold/mildew growth or pest infestations.
And in the winter, letting your house get cold can lead to pipes icing over or even bursting. It’s an awful feeling to get home from a long trip only to discover substantial water damage close to a broken pipe.
Energy-Efficient Thermostat Settings While at Work
You can make temperature adjustments even as you come and go to work. Considering you’re not home for about 8 hours or longer, it doesn’t help your monthly energy bill to keep an empty home at the same temperature you’d usually have. In general, it’s suggested to turn up the thermostat by 5 degrees or so. Meaning that if you prefer a comfortable 72 degrees, think about 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. According to the Department of Energy, you may save about 10% on your HVAC spending by increasing the adjustment to 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 larger adjustments. This ensures you don’t waste energy while still safeguarding your home from the problems that come with leaving it un-air conditioned. Around 5 degrees is appropriate for shorter trips while closer to 10 degrees is worthwhile if you’ll be gone for 2 weeks or more. If you like keeping the house at 72 in the summer, 78-82 should offer the best results.
Recommended Thermostat Settings While Away from Home in Winter
To determine the most energy-efficient thermostat setting for a winter trip, consider lowering the temperature by the same amount you would raise it in summer. 68 is a common winter thermostat setting, so adjusting to 63-58 will prevent ice from forming on pipes while minimizing how often your furnace runs.
A Smart Thermostat Can Help: Advantages of a Smart Thermostat
A great way to optimize your home’s HVAC system while away is with a smart thermostat. This advanced type of programmable thermostat utilizes intelligent software to monitor your usual comfort habits. It gradually understands these preferences and makes automatic changes to the schedule for better energy efficiency. And with Wi-Fi connectivity, you can remotely access your HVAC system from a smartphone or tablet.
Smart thermostats are stuffed with features to help you save energy and lower costs. For example, certain models can track electricity prices to increase heating or cooling when prices are more affordable. They can be used with high-efficiency, variable-speed equipment to optimize how long your HVAC system has to run. It’s the ideal tool to enhance how you use your comfort system. If you’re planning on investing in a smart thermostat, there are different ways you can reduce your costs, essentially getting a smart thermostat for free. The next time you are away from home, you can appreciate true peace of mind that your HVAC system won’t cause any trouble while you’re away from home.