Planning a vacation? We recommend using a programmable or smart thermostat while you’re away. Here are the pros and cons of each type of thermostat and our four recommendations for while you are on vacation.
Older thermostat models have a dial that you turn to set your temperature, while programmable thermostats feature a large digital display with a screen you touch in order to set your preferred temperature settings.
Programmable thermostats are a great way to save money on your energy bill. For instance, why have the air conditioner running all day, keeping an empty house cool when you are out of town? By installing a programmable thermostat, you can lower your bills by programming it to automatically adjust the temperature and run minimally while you are away. You don’t have to remember to change the temperature before leaving for your trip, and you can also schedule the system to kick back on and warm up or cool down the house just prior to your return.
Unlike a regular thermostat, a “smart” thermostat learns what temperatures your family likes for your home based on your behaviors and can adjust automatically to those settings, depending on the room you are in. It will also turn off when you leave the room or the house, which saves you money, and can show you real-time energy usage and how much you’re spending.
A smart thermostat is controlled over Wi-Fi, so you can make changes to your home’s temperature settings remotely from anywhere while you’re out of town. Maybe you forgot to turn off the heat or air before leaving on vacation, or you want to turn them on before you get back. Through your smartphone, tablet or computer, you can make it happen. Smart thermostats help your HVAC system run more efficiently and save you money, both of which are smart. However, while smart thermostats offer more features than programmable thermostats, they typically also cost more to purchase.
Think about the pros and cons of programmable and smart thermostats and then decide which is best for you and your family’s habits and needs. For even more on thermostats, check out this article from the U.S. Department of Energy.
Before leaving for your trip, don’t forget to follow these tips, so your HVAC system is good to go while you’re gone.
- Do not turn off your HVAC system altogether. Your system should still run minimally while you’re away to avoid excess humidity or cold in your home. If your trip is during a warmer season of the year, then set the thermostat to a higher temperature while you’re away (no higher than 85 degrees). If your trip is during a colder season, then set the thermostat to a lower temperature (no lower than 50 degrees). Of course, you will need to set the thermostat differently if you have pets or anyone staying in your house while you are gone.
- Close the window treatments (blinds and curtains) on your windows. It helps prevent the hot or cold temperatures outside from affecting your space and making your HVAC system work more.
- Change your air filter before leaving, so the HVAC system isn’t working harder than it needs to while you’re gone, isn’t circulating dirty air around your house and won’t be prone to any issues when you’re unavailable.
- Schedule an HVAC maintenance appointment to ensure your system is running properly and efficiently before you leave for your trip.
Contact Stiles Heating, Cooling, & Plumbing with your thermostat questions and to schedule an HVAC maintenance appointment before your vacation. Our HVAC contractors can install a programmable or smart thermostat for you, give you tips on how the thermostat works, provide recommendations for the best settings and, if applicable, show you how to adjust the thermostat remotely through your smartphone, tablet or computer.