From a tropical vacation or a lengthy trip for work, leaving home means making preparations for your home comfort system. You won’t be using it if you’re away, so you can adjust the temperature as needed to limit your energy use. Just the same, you don’t want to just turn it off for the entire time you're gone.
In general, it’s best to leave your HVAC system running and just make adjustments depending on the season. That way you can lower energy costs without worrying about getting back to an uncomfortable home. We’ll review why you should avoid turning your HVAC system off as well as the most energy-efficient thermostat settings for summer and winter.
Here’s Why You Don't Leave Your Thermostat on Hold
While you might be wanting to shut your HVAC system down before a trip, this can end up stirring up costly problems by the time you return. This is especially true in case the weather will be severely hot or cold while you’re out of town.
As an example, switching the HVAC system off in the summer could lead to very high humidity. Not only will your home feel like a swamp when you have returned, but it could have also encouraged mold/mildew growth or pest infestations.
And during the winter, leaving the furnace off will sometimes lead to pipes freezing or even bursting. It’s never fun to return home from a nice trip only to discover substantial water damage near a broken pipe.
Ideal Thermostat Settings While at Work
You can make temperature adjustments even as you come and go to work. Because you’re not home for 8 hours or more, it doesn’t make sense to keep an empty home the same temperature as when you're home. As a general rule, it’s recommended to raise the thermostat by 5 degrees or so. This means that if you prefer a comfortable 72 degrees, consider adjusting it to 76-77 while you’re at work.
But you can save even more if you try further adjustments to the temperature. According to the Department of Energy, you could save about 10% on your HVAC costs by raising the temperature by about 7-10 degrees.
Best Thermostat Settings While on a Trip in Summer
If you leave for a longer trip in the hottest part of summer, you can make more significant adjustments. This prevents wasting energy while still safeguarding your home from the hassles that come with leaving it uncooled. Around 5 degrees is recommended for shorter trips while a larger adjustment of 10 degrees is ideal 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 should offer the best results.
Ideal Thermostat Settings While Away from Home in Winter
To try and find the most energy-efficient thermostat setting for a winter getaway, simply lower it by the same amount you would raise it in summer. 68 is a common winter thermostat setting, so lowering it to 63-58 will protect your plumbing while minimizing how frequently your furnace runs.
A Smart Thermostat Can Help: Advantages of a Smart Thermostat
One of the best ways to optimize your home’s HVAC system while away from home is with a smart thermostat. This innovative type of programmable thermostat employs intelligent software to understand your typical comfort habits. It learns these preferences and makes automatic changes to the schedule for maximum energy efficiency. And with Wi-Fi integration, you can remotely adjust your heating and cooling with a mobile device or tablet.
Smart thermostats are stuffed with features to help you save even more. For instance, certain models can track electricity prices to bolster heating or cooling when prices are lowest. They can also work with high-efficiency, variable-speed equipment to fine-tune how long your HVAC system needs to run. It’s the optimal tool to streamline how you control your comfort system. If you’re planning on investing in a smart thermostat, there are a variety of ways you can lower your costs, in essence getting a smart thermostat for free. The next time you are away from home, you can enjoy true peace of mind that your HVAC system won’t stir up any trouble while you’re away.