From a tropical vacation or a long trip for work, taking a trip means making preparations for your HVAC system. You don't need it while you’re away, so you can make adjustments as needed to conserve your energy use. At the same time, you don’t want to just leave it off for the entire time you're out of the house.

Instead, it’s better to leave your HVAC system running and just make adjustments depending on the season. That way you can reduce energy costs without worrying about getting back to an uncomfortable home. We’ll explain why you should avoid turning your HVAC system off as well as the best thermostat settings for various times of year.

This Is Why You Shouldn’t Leave Your Thermostat on Hold

While you might be inclined to shut your HVAC system down before a trip, this will sometimes end up stirring up costly problems by the time you come back. This is particularly true when the weather will be severely hot or cold while you’re out of town.

For example, turning the HVAC system off during the summer can produce very high humidity. Not only will your home feel muggy and uncomfortable when you return, but it may have also stimulated mold/mildew growth or pest infestations.

And during the winter, letting your house get cold could lead to pipes freezing up or even bursting. It’s never fun to come home from a vacation only to come across extensive water damage nearby a broken pipe.

Ideal Thermostat Settings While at Work

You can adjust the temperature even if you’re coming and going to work. Considering 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. In general, it’s encouraged to turn up the thermostat by 5 degrees or more. That means that if you prefer a comfortable 72 degrees, try raising it to 76-77 while you’re out.

But you may save even more if you try further adjustments to the temperature. As reported by the Department of Energy, you might save about 10% on your HVAC costs by increasing the adjustment to 7-10 degrees.

Energy-Efficient Thermostat Settings While on Vacation in Summer

If you leave for an extended trip in the hottest part of summer, you can make more significant adjustments. This helps you avoid using too much energy while still protecting your home from the hassles that come with leaving it uncooled. About 5 degrees is suitable for shorter trips while closer to 10 degrees is worthwhile if you’ll be out of town for 2 weeks or more. If you prefer keeping the house at 72 in the summer, 78-82 should offer beneficial results.

Best Thermostat Settings While On a Trip in Winter

To determine the best thermostat setting for a winter getaway, consider lowering the temperature by the same amount you would raise it in summer. 68 is a popular winter thermostat setting, so lowering it to 63-58 will prevent ice from forming on pipes while limiting how frequently your furnace operates.

Smart Thermostats Are Even Better: Perks of a Smart Thermostat

A great way to optimize your home’s HVAC system while away from home is using a smart thermostat. This advanced type of programmable thermostat employs intelligent software to understand your usual comfort habits. It gradually understands these preferences and makes automatic corrections to the schedule for better energy efficiency. And with Wi-Fi connectivity, you can remotely access your heating and cooling with a smartphone or tablet.

Smart thermostats are packed with features to help you save energy and lower costs. For example, certain models can track electricity prices to increase heating or cooling when prices are more affordable. They are compatible with high-efficiency, variable-speed equipment to fine-tune how long your HVAC system needs to run. It’s the perfect tool to enhance how you use your comfort system. If you’re planning on investing in a smart thermostat, there are multiple ways you can bring down your costs, essentially getting a smart thermostat for free. The next time you are away from home, you can receive true peace of mind that your HVAC system won’t stir up any trouble while you’re gone.