For many of us, the approaching holiday season is a time for family and friends to come together. More often than not, that means gathering in close quarters at somebody’s house or apartment with nothing to do but relax and catch up with one another. And when it comes down to it, what better way to pass the time than by staying warm with a big heap of coal burning in the fireplace?
But wait! Does this mean leaving your heating system running unattended while you’re away?
If so, how will turning off your heat save money on energy bills when you get back home? Is it safe to do so?
First, let’s talk about why it may be necessary in the first place.
When thinking of heating your home during colder months, you’re likely to consider how much it costs to run the furnace. But there’s more to it than just the monthly heating bill. Your HVAC system is also responsible for distributing cooled air in the summertime. So, when you’re not using your heating system, you’re still using energy – albeit a smaller amount – to power your air conditioner. By turning it off and bringing your home to a comfortable temperature before leaving town, the most energy you’ll use will be for heating your house when you get back.
A good rule of thumb is that an idle furnace will use about one-quarter of what it would take to heat your house in a day. So, if you’re gone for four days, that would be the equivalent of turning off your furnace for one day. If you invested in a programmable thermostat, you could set it to turn on a couple of hours before you get home so that your house is warm and comfortable when you walk in the door.
Now that we know a little bit more about how our heating and cooling systems work together let’s answer some of those nagging questions about turning off your heat while on vacation.
First and foremost, is it really safe to do so? As long as you take a few simple precautions, it most certainly is.
One of the most important things to remember is to set your thermostat to a higher temperature before leaving. This will ensure that your home doesn’t get too cold while you’re away and that the furnace won’t have to work as hard when you return to bring the temperature back up.
Another thing to keep in mind is checking on your home periodically while you’re gone. If you happen to notice an unexpected rise in energy usage, it may be worth turning the heat back on for a day or two until you can get it checked out by a professional.
But what about the cost? Won’t turning off my heat save me money on my energy bill?
It depends. In general, if you’re only going to be gone for a week or two, the cost of turning your heat off is likely to be more than the savings you’ll see on your energy bill. However, if you’re going to be away for an extended period, turning off your heat could save you some money.
Lastly, it’s important to remember that everyone’s situation is different. If you have any questions or concerns about whether or not turning off your heat is right for you, be sure to speak with a qualified HVAC technician like Hoot! We will be able to help you make the best decision for your home and your family.
So, should you turn off your heater when you go on vacation?
The answer is – as with most things – it depends. But by following these simple steps, you can ensure your home is both safe and comfortable while you’re gone.