Whether it’s a tropical vacation or a lengthy trip for work, traveling means making preparations for your HVAC system. You won’t be using it if you’re not home, so you can make adjustments as necessary to minimize your energy use. At the same time, you don’t want to just shut it down for the entire duration of your trip.
In general, it’s ideal to leave your HVAC system going and adjust the temperature depending on whether it's winter or summer. That way you can lower energy costs without stressing about coming back to an uncomfortable home. We’ll walk you through why you shouldn’t turn your HVAC system off as well as the ideal thermostat settings for different times of year.
Here’s Why You Avoid Leaving Your Thermostat on Hold
While you might be tempted to turn your HVAC system off before a trip, this will sometimes end up leading to costly 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, switching the HVAC system down during the summer could lead to very high humidity. Not only will your home feel like a swamp when you return, but it may have also invited mold/mildew growth or pest infestations.
And in the winter, not using the furnace could lead to pipes freezing up or even bursting. It’s never fun to return 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 as you come and go to work. Since you’re out of the house for 8 hours or more, it doesn’t help your monthly energy bill to keep an empty home heated or cooled as if you were there. Generally, it’s suggested to turn up the thermostat by 5 degrees or more. Meaning that if you prefer a comfortable 72 degrees, think about increasing it to 76-77 while you’re gone.
But you can save even more if you're open to further adjusting the temperature. As reported by the Department of Energy, you could save around 10% on your HVAC spending by increasing the adjustment to 7-10 degrees.
Best Thermostat Settings While on a Trip in Summer
If you're on a longer trip in the heart of summer, you can make bigger adjustments. This prevents wasting energy while still defending your home from the issues that come with leaving it un-air conditioned. About 5 degrees is suitable for shorter trips while around 10 degrees is best if you’ll be gone for 2 weeks or longer. If you enjoy keeping the house at 72 in the summer, 78-82 should offer the best results.
Recommended Thermostat Settings While On a Trip in Winter
To try and find the most energy-efficient thermostat setting for a winter vacation, consider lowering the temperature by the same amount you would adjust it in summer. 68 is a frequent winter thermostat setting, so lowering it to 63-58 will prevent ice from forming on pipes while limiting how long your furnace runs.
A Smart Thermostat Can Help: Benefits of a Smart Thermostat
An ideal strategy to regulate your home’s HVAC system while out of the house is with a smart thermostat. This special type of programmable thermostat utilizes intelligent software to track your typical comfort habits. It gradually understands these preferences and makes automatic changes to the schedule for maximum energy efficiency. And with Wi-Fi connectivity, you can remotely control your HVAC system with a smartphone or tablet.
Smart thermostats are stuffed with features to help you save energy and lower costs. For instance, specific models can observe electricity prices to bolster heating or cooling when prices are more affordable. They can also work with high-efficiency, variable-speed equipment to fine-tune how long your HVAC system has to run. It’s the perfect tool to streamline 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, 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 gone.