Between a much-needed vacation or a lengthy trip for work, traveling means making plans for your HVAC system. You won’t be using it while you’re away, so you can make adjustments as appropriate to minimize your energy use. Simultaneously, you shouldn't just leave it off for the entire duration of your trip.

Instead, it’s best to leave your HVAC system running and just raise or lower depending on the time of year. That way you can minimize energy costs without worrying about returning to an uncomfortable home. We’ll explain why you should avoid turning your HVAC system off as well as the best thermostat settings for different times of year.

Here’s Why You Don't Leave Your Thermostat on Hold

While you might be tempted to shut your HVAC system down before a trip, this can end up leading to costly problems by the time you get back. This is particularly true when the weather will be severely hot or cold while you’re away from home.

For instance, switching the HVAC system down in the summer can cause very high humidity. Not only will your home feel gross when you come back, but it might have also stimulated mold/mildew growth or pest infestations.

And during the winter, letting your house get cold could lead to pipes icing over or even bursting. It’s never fun to come home from a nice trip only to come across considerable water damage nearby a broken pipe.

Ideal Thermostat Settings While at Work

You can optimize the temperature even as you come and go to work. Considering you’re out of the house for around 8 hours or so, it doesn’t make sense to keep an empty home the same temperature as when you're home. Generally, it’s suggested to raise the thermostat by 5 degrees or more. This means that if you prefer a comfortable 72 degrees, think about raising it to 76-77 while you’re at work.

But you can save even more if you're open to further adjusting the temperature. As stated by the Department of Energy, you may save nearly 10% on your HVAC costs by making an adjustment of 7-10 degrees.

Ideal Thermostat Settings While on Vacation in Summer

If you're on a longer trip in the hottest part of summer, you can make bigger adjustments. This prevents wasting energy while still safeguarding your home from the problems that come with leaving it without air conditioning. About 5 degrees is appropriate for brief trips while around 10 degrees is ideal if you’ll be gone for 2 weeks or longer. If you enjoy keeping the house at 72 in the summer, 78-82 will 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 turning it down to 63-58 will keep your plumbing safe while minimizing how long your furnace operates.

Smart Thermostats Are Even Better: Perks of a Smart Thermostat

One of the best ways to regulate your home’s HVAC system while away from home is by investing in a smart thermostat. This advanced type of programmable thermostat utilizes intelligent software to track your preferred comfort habits. It applies these preferences and makes automatic corrections to the schedule for higher energy efficiency. And with Wi-Fi integration, you can remotely adjust your HVAC system using a smartphone or tablet.

Smart thermostats are packed with features to help you save on your energy bill. For example, certain models can observe electricity prices to increase heating or cooling when prices are more affordable. They can also work with high-efficiency, variable-speed equipment to refine how long your HVAC system needs to run. It’s the ideal tool to enhance how you control your comfort system. If you’re thinking about investing in a smart thermostat, there are multiple ways you can reduce your costs, in essence getting a smart thermostat for free. The next time you are away from home, you can enjoy true peace of mind that your HVAC system won’t cause any trouble while you’re gone.