From a relaxing vacation or a lengthy trip for work, traveling means making plans for your heating and cooling system. You can't use it as long as you’re away, so you can adjust it as appropriate to conserve your energy use. Simultaneously, you don’t want to just shut it down for the entire time you're gone.

For the most part, it’s ideal to leave your HVAC system going and just raise or lower depending on the time of year. That way you can minimize energy costs without having to worry about coming back to an uncomfortable home. We’ll explain why you shouldn’t turn your HVAC system off as well as the best thermostat settings for various times of year.

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

While you may be tempted to shut your HVAC system down before a trip, this will sometimes end up leading to big problems by the time you come back. This is especially true when 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 lead to very high humidity. Not only will your home feel gross when you come back, but it could have also stimulated mold/mildew growth or pest infestations.

And during the winter, letting your house get cold will sometimes lead to pipes icing over or even bursting. It’s exhausting to come home from a vacation only to discover extensive water damage nearby a broken pipe.

Ideal Thermostat Settings While at Work

You can optimize the temperature even if you’re coming and going to work. Because 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. As a general rule, it’s recommended to adjust the thermostat by 5 degrees or more. That means that if you prefer a comfortable 72 degrees, try raising it to 76-77 while you’re at work.

But you could save even more if you're open to further adjusting the temperature. According to the Department of Energy, you could save nearly 10% on your HVAC spending by raising the temperature by about 7-10 degrees.

Energy-Efficient Thermostat Settings While on a Trip in Summer

If you're on an extended trip in the heart of summer, you can make larger adjustments. This helps you avoid using too much energy while still defending your home from the hassles that come with leaving it un-air conditioned. About 5 degrees is recommended for short trips while around 10 degrees is best if you’ll be gone for 2 weeks or longer. If you like 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 best thermostat setting for a winter vacation, simply lower it by the same amount you would increase it in summer. 68 is a frequent winter thermostat setting, so turning it down to 63-58 will protect your plumbing while minimizing how long your furnace runs.

A Smart Thermostat Can Help: Advantages of Smart Thermostat Installation

An ideal strategy to manage your home’s HVAC system while away is using a smart thermostat. This advanced type of programmable thermostat employs intelligent software to monitor your typical comfort habits. It learns these preferences and makes automatic corrections to the schedule for higher energy efficiency. And with Wi-Fi integration, you can remotely access your HVAC system from a smart device like a phone or tablet.

Smart thermostats are packed with features to help you save energy and lower costs. For instance, specific models can monitor electricity prices to boost 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 has to run. It’s the perfect 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 bring down your costs, effectively 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 stir up any trouble while you’re away from home.