Between a much-needed vacation or a long trip for work, traveling means making preparations for your heating and cooling system. You can't use it if you’re away, so you can adjust the temperature as appropriate to limit your energy use. Just the same, you don’t want to just shut it down for the entire time you're out of the house.

Instead, it’s better to leave your HVAC system going and just raise or lower depending on the season. That way you can reduce energy costs without having to worry about coming back to an uncomfortable home. We’ll walk you through why you should avoid turning your HVAC system off as well as the ideal thermostat settings for summer and winter.

This Is Why You Avoid Leaving Your Thermostat on Hold

While you might be inclined to leave your HVAC system off before a trip, this will sometimes end up causing big problems by the time you get back. This is especially true if the weather will be severely hot or cold while you’re gone.

For instance, shutting the HVAC system off in the summer can cause very high humidity. Not only will your home feel like a swamp when you come back, but it could have also stimulated mold/mildew growth or pest infestations.

And over the winter, not using the furnace might lead to pipes freezing or even bursting. It’s an awful feeling to return home from a nice trip only to find substantial water damage close to a broken pipe.

Best Thermostat Settings While at Work

You can optimize the temperature even when you're just going to work. Since you’re not home for about 8 hours or longer, it doesn’t help your monthly energy bill to keep an empty home the same temperature as when you're home. As a general rule, it’s encouraged to adjust the thermostat by 5 degrees or so. This means 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 try further adjustments to the temperature. According to the Department of Energy, you may save around 10% on your HVAC costs by increasing the adjustment to 7-10 degrees.

Best Thermostat Settings While on Vacation in Summer

If you're on an extended trip in the hottest part of summer, you can make larger adjustments. This ensures you don’t waste energy while still safeguarding your home from the hassles that come with leaving it without air conditioning. About 5 degrees is suitable for shorter trips while around 10 degrees is ideal if you’ll be out of town for 2 weeks or longer. If you prefer keeping the house at 72 in the summer, 78-82 can offer beneficial results.

Best Thermostat Settings While on Vacation in Winter

To determine the ideal thermostat setting for a winter vacation, just lower the temperature by the same amount you would raise it in summer. 68 is a frequent winter thermostat setting, so adjusting to 63-58 will prevent ice from forming on pipes while restricting how long your furnace operates.

A Smart Thermostat Can Help: Benefits of Smart Thermostat Installation

A great way to regulate your home’s HVAC system while away from home is using a smart thermostat. This innovative type of programmable thermostat employs intelligent software to track your typical comfort habits. It applies these preferences and makes automatic adjustments to the schedule for higher energy efficiency. And with Wi-Fi connectivity, you can remotely adjust your HVAC system from a smart device like a phone or tablet.

Smart thermostats are loaded with features to help you save energy and lower costs. For instance, some models can observe electricity prices to increase heating or cooling when prices are lower. They can be used with high-efficiency, variable-speed equipment to fine-tune how long your HVAC system needs to run. It’s the ideal tool to enhance how you use your comfort system. If you’re thinking about investing in a smart thermostat, there are different ways you can lower your costs, in essence getting a smart thermostat for free. The next time you leave for vacation, you can receive true peace of mind that your HVAC system won’t cause any trouble while you’re away.