Between a relaxing vacation or a lengthy trip for work, traveling means making preparations for your heating and cooling system. You don't need it if you’re away, so you can make adjustments as necessary to minimize your energy use. Simultaneously, you shouldn't just turn it off for the entire duration of your trip.

For the most part, it’s ideal to leave your HVAC system on and adjust the temperature depending on the time of year. That way you can minimize 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 ideal thermostat settings for various times of year.

Here’s Why You Shouldn’t Leave Your Thermostat on Hold

While you could be tempted to shut your HVAC system down before a trip, this will sometimes end up leading to annoying problems by the time you return. This is especially true when the weather will be severely hot or cold while you’re out of town.

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

And in the winter, not using the furnace could lead to pipes icing over or even bursting. It’s never fun to come home from a nice trip only to discover extensive water damage nearby a broken pipe.

Ideal Thermostat Settings While at Work

You can make temperature adjustments even as you come and go to work. Because you’re away for around 8 hours or so, it doesn’t help your monthly energy bill to keep an empty home the same temperature as when you're home. Generally, it’s recommended to turn up the thermostat by 5 degrees or so. That means that if you prefer a comfortable 72 degrees, consider 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 may save nearly 10% on your HVAC spending by increasing the adjustment to 7-10 degrees.

Best Thermostat Settings While on Vacation in Summer

If you're on a longer trip in the heart of summer, you can make bigger adjustments. This prevents wasting energy while still protecting your home from the hassles that come with leaving it without air conditioning. About 5 degrees is suitable for brief trips while around 10 degrees is ideal if you’ll be gone for 2 weeks or more. If you prefer keeping the house at 72 in the summer, 78-82 should offer the best results.

Recommended Thermostat Settings While Away from Home in Winter

To determine the ideal thermostat setting for a winter trip, just lower the temperature by the same amount you would raise it in summer. 68 is a popular winter thermostat setting, so adjusting to 63-58 will protect your plumbing while restricting how long your furnace runs.

A Smart Thermostat Can Help: Advantages of a Smart Thermostat

A great way to regulate your home’s HVAC system while out of the house is with a smart thermostat. This special type of programmable thermostat uses intelligent software to understand your typical comfort habits. It learns these preferences and makes automatic changes to the schedule for higher energy efficiency. And with Wi-Fi compatibility, you can remotely access your heating and cooling with a smart device like a phone or tablet.

Smart thermostats are stuffed with features to help you save on your energy bill. For example, certain models can monitor electricity prices to boost heating or cooling when prices are more affordable. They can also work with high-efficiency, variable-speed equipment to fine-tune how long your HVAC system should run. It’s the ideal tool to simplify how you use your comfort system. If you’re thinking about investing in a smart thermostat, there are a variety of ways you can reduce your costs, in essence getting a smart thermostat for free. The next time you leave for vacation, you can appreciate true peace of mind that your HVAC system won’t stir up any trouble while you’re away.