Between a relaxing vacation or a long trip for work, taking a trip means making plans for your home comfort system. You don't need it while you’re not home, so you can adjust it as necessary to minimize your energy use. At the same time, you don’t want to just turn it off for the entire time you're gone.

Instead, it’s best to leave your HVAC system on and just make adjustments depending on whether it's winter or summer. That way you can reduce energy costs without having to worry about returning to an uncomfortable home. We’ll explain why you should leave your HVAC system on as well as the best thermostat settings for different times of year.

Here’s Why You Avoid Leaving Your Thermostat on Hold

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

As an example, turning the HVAC system off during the summer will sometimes lead to very high humidity. Not only will your home feel gross when you have returned, but it could have also encouraged mold/mildew growth or pest infestations.

And during the winter, not using the furnace could lead to pipes freezing or even bursting. It’s an awful feeling to come home from a vacation only to come across substantial water damage close to a broken pipe.

Energy-Efficient Thermostat Settings While at Work

You can make temperature adjustments even when you're just going to work. Since you’re out of the house for about 8 hours or longer, it doesn’t help your monthly energy bill to keep an empty home at the same temperature you’d usually have. In general, it’s encouraged to turn up the thermostat by 5 degrees or more. This means that if you prefer a comfortable 72 degrees, think about increasing it to 76-77 while you’re at work.

But you can save even more if you try further adjustments to the temperature. As reported by the Department of Energy, you may save around 10% on your HVAC expenses by raising the temperature by about 7-10 degrees.

Ideal Thermostat Settings While on a Trip in Summer

If you're on an extended trip in the middle of summer, you can make more significant adjustments. This helps you avoid using too much energy while still safeguarding your home from the issues that come with leaving it un-air conditioned. Around 5 degrees is appropriate for short trips while around 10 degrees is ideal if you’ll be out of town for 2 weeks or longer. If you enjoy keeping the house at 72 in the summer, 78-82 can offer beneficial results.

Best Thermostat Settings While Away from Home in Winter

To determine the best thermostat setting for a winter vacation, simply lower it by the same amount you would adjust it in summer. 68 is a popular winter thermostat setting, so adjusting to 63-58 will prevent ice from forming on pipes while restricting how long your furnace runs.

Smart Thermostats Are Even Better: Perks of Smart Thermostat Installation

One of the best ways to regulate your home’s HVAC system while away from home is with a smart thermostat. This advanced type of programmable thermostat uses intelligent software to monitor your typical comfort habits. It gradually understands these preferences and makes automatic changes to the schedule for higher energy efficiency. And with Wi-Fi connectivity, you can remotely access your HVAC system from a smartphone or tablet.

Smart thermostats are loaded with features to help you save energy and lower costs. To provide an example, some 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 should run. It’s the optimal tool to enhance how you control your comfort system. If you’re planning on investing in a smart thermostat, there are multiple ways you can lower your costs, in essence getting a smart thermostat for free. The next time you are away from home, you can appreciate true peace of mind that your HVAC system won’t cause any trouble while you’re away from home.