From a much-needed vacation or a long trip for work, leaving home means making preparations for your heating and cooling system. You can't use it if you’re away, so you can make adjustments as appropriate to conserve your energy use. Just the same, you shouldn't just leave it off for the entire time you're gone.
In general, it’s better to leave your HVAC system on and just raise or lower depending on the time of year. That way you can lower energy costs without worrying about coming back to an uncomfortable home. We’ll review 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 might be wanting to shut your HVAC system down before a trip, this will sometimes end up leading to big problems by the time you return. This is notably true when the weather will be severely hot or cold while you’re out of town.
For example, switching the HVAC system down during the summer can cause 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, leaving the furnace off will sometimes lead to pipes freezing up or even bursting. It’s an awful feeling to get home from a vacation only to find considerable water damage near a broken pipe.
Ideal Thermostat Settings While at Work
You can adjust the temperature even if you’re coming and going to work. Since you’re away for 8 hours or more, it doesn’t seem sensible to keep an empty home at the same temperature you’d usually have. As a general rule, it’s encouraged to turn up the thermostat by 5 degrees or more. This means 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 willing to further adjust the temperature. According to the Department of Energy, you may save around 10% on your HVAC expenses by raising the temperature by about 7-10 degrees.
Ideal Thermostat Settings While on a Trip in Summer
If you're on a lengthier trip in the heart of summer, you can make bigger adjustments. This helps you avoid using too much energy while still defending your home from the problems that come with leaving it uncooled. About 5 degrees is suitable for shorter trips while around 10 degrees is best if you’ll be out of town for 2 weeks or longer. If you prefer keeping the house at 72 in the summer, 78-82 should offer the best results.
Ideal Thermostat Settings While on Vacation in Winter
To determine the best thermostat setting for a winter trip, 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 keep your plumbing safe while limiting how frequently your furnace operates.
A Smart Thermostat Can Help: Perks of a Smart Thermostat
One of the best ways to optimize your home’s HVAC system while out of the house is using a smart thermostat. This advanced type of programmable thermostat employs intelligent software to understand your preferred comfort habits. It gradually understands these preferences and makes automatic adjustments to the schedule for higher energy efficiency. And with Wi-Fi compatibility, you can remotely access your heating and cooling using a smart device like a phone or tablet.
Smart thermostats are loaded with features to help you save on your energy bill. For instance, some models can observe electricity prices to boost heating or cooling when prices are lower. They are compatible with high-efficiency, variable-speed equipment to optimize how long your HVAC system needs to 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, in essence 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 stir up any trouble while you’re away from home.