From a relaxing vacation or a lengthy trip for work, taking a trip means making plans for your HVAC system. You can't use it if you’re on a trip, so you can adjust the temperature as necessary to limit your energy use. Simultaneously, you don’t want to just leave it off for the entire time you're gone.

For the most part, it’s better to leave your HVAC system running and just make adjustments depending on the time of year. That way you can reduce energy costs without stressing about getting back to an uncomfortable home. We’ll walk you through why you should avoid turning your HVAC system off as well as the most energy-efficient thermostat settings for different times of year.

This Is Why You Shouldn’t Leave Your Thermostat Alone

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

For example, switching the HVAC system down during the summer will sometimes cause very high humidity. Not only will your home feel muggy and uncomfortable when you return, but it could have also stimulated mold/mildew growth or pest infestations.

And in the winter, leaving the furnace off will sometimes lead to pipes icing over or even bursting. It’s never fun to return home from a vacation only to find substantial water damage near a broken pipe.

Ideal Thermostat Settings While at Work

You can optimize the temperature even when you're just going to work. Because you’re out of the house for 8 hours or more, it doesn’t make sense to keep an empty home heated or cooled as if you were there. Generally, it’s suggested to turn up the thermostat by 5 degrees or so. That means that if you prefer a comfortable 72 degrees, try adjusting it to 76-77 while you’re out.

But you may save even more if you’re willing to further adjust the temperature. As reported by the Department of Energy, you might save around 10% on your HVAC spending by increasing the adjustment to 7-10 degrees.

Energy-Efficient Thermostat Settings While on Vacation in Summer

If you're on an extended trip in the heart of summer, you can make more significant adjustments. This ensures you don’t waste energy while still defending your home from the hassles that come with leaving it without air conditioning. Something like 5 degrees is suitable for short trips while closer to 10 degrees is best if you’ll be gone for 2 weeks or more. If you prefer keeping the house at 72 in the summer, 78-82 can offer great results.

Best Thermostat Settings While On a Trip in Winter

To figure out the ideal thermostat setting for a winter trip, simply lower it by the same amount you would adjust it in summer. 68 is a frequent winter thermostat setting, so lowering it to 63-58 will keep your plumbing safe while restricting how long your furnace operates.

A Smart Thermostat Can Help: Perks of Smart Thermostat Installation

An ideal strategy to regulate your home’s HVAC system while away from home is using a smart thermostat. This advanced type of programmable thermostat uses intelligent software to monitor your usual comfort habits. It applies these preferences and makes automatic corrections to the schedule for better energy efficiency. And with Wi-Fi integration, you can remotely control 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, specific models can observe electricity prices to increase heating or cooling when prices are more affordable. They are compatible with high-efficiency, variable-speed equipment to optimize how long your HVAC system needs to run. It’s the optimal tool to simplify how you use your comfort system. If you’re thinking about investing in a smart thermostat, there are different ways you can bring down your costs, in essence getting a smart thermostat for free. The next time you leave for vacation, you can enjoy true peace of mind that your HVAC system won’t stir up any trouble while you’re gone.