From a relaxing vacation or a lengthy trip for work, traveling means making plans for your HVAC system. You can't use it while you’re not home, so you can adjust the temperature as needed to minimize your energy use. Simultaneously, you shouldn't just leave it off for the entire duration of your trip.

In general, it’s best to leave your HVAC system running and just make adjustments 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 review why you shouldn’t turn your HVAC system off as well as the best thermostat settings for summer and winter.

This Is Why You Shouldn’t Leave Your Thermostat on Hold

While you might be wanting to turn your HVAC system off before a trip, this will sometimes end up leading to annoying problems by the time you get back. This is especially true if the weather will be severely hot or cold while you’re away from home.

As an example, turning the HVAC system down in the summer will sometimes lead to very high humidity. Not only will your home feel like a swamp when you come back, but it might have also invited mold/mildew growth or pest infestations.

And during the winter, letting your house get cold can lead to pipes freezing or even bursting. It’s exhausting to come home from a long trip only to find extensive water damage near a broken pipe.

Energy-Efficient Thermostat Settings While at Work

You can adjust the temperature even when you're just going to work. Since you’re away for around 8 hours or so, it doesn’t make sense to keep an empty home heated or cooled as if you were there. As a general rule, it’s suggested to adjust the thermostat by 5 degrees or so. This means that if you prefer a comfortable 72 degrees, try adjusting it to 76-77 while you’re gone.

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

Best Thermostat Settings While on a Trip in Summer

If you leave for a longer trip in the middle of summer, you can make larger adjustments. This prevents wasting energy while still safeguarding your home from the issues that come with leaving it un-air conditioned. Around 5 degrees is recommended for brief trips while a larger adjustment of 10 degrees is best if you’ll be out of town for 2 weeks or longer. If you prefer keeping the house at 72 in the summer, 78-82 will offer beneficial results.

Best Thermostat Settings While On a Trip in Winter

To figure out the ideal thermostat setting for a winter vacation, just lower the temperature by the same amount you would adjust it in summer. 68 is a common winter thermostat setting, so lowering it to 63-58 will prevent ice from forming on pipes while restricting how frequently your furnace runs.

Smart Thermostats Are Even Better: Benefits of Smart Thermostat Installation

One of the best ways to manage your home’s HVAC system while out of the house is by investing in a smart thermostat. This special type of programmable thermostat utilizes intelligent software to understand your preferred comfort habits. It gradually understands these preferences and makes automatic corrections to the schedule for better energy efficiency. And with Wi-Fi integration, you can remotely access your HVAC system with a smartphone or tablet.

Smart thermostats are stuffed with features to help you save energy and lower costs. To provide an example, some models can observe electricity prices to boost heating or cooling when prices are lowest. They can be used with high-efficiency, variable-speed equipment to optimize how long your HVAC system should run. It’s the perfect tool to simplify how you use your comfort system. If you’re considering investing in a smart thermostat, there are a variety of ways you can bring down your costs, in essence getting a smart thermostat for free. The next time you leave for vacation, you can receive true peace of mind that your HVAC system won’t stir up any trouble while you’re away from home.