From a tropical vacation or a lengthy trip for work, taking a trip means making plans for your heating and cooling system. You can't use it as long as you’re not home, so you can adjust it as appropriate to limit your energy use. At the same time, you shouldn't just shut it down for the entire time you're gone.

In general, it’s ideal to leave your HVAC system running and just make adjustments depending on the time of year. That way you can reduce energy costs without worrying about getting 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.

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

While you could be wanting to turn your HVAC system off before a trip, this could end up leading to big problems by the time you get back. This is particularly true in case the weather will be severely hot or cold while you’re gone.

For instance, shutting the HVAC system down during the summer can produce very high humidity. Not only will your home feel like a swamp when you come back, but it may have also invited mold/mildew growth or pest infestations.

And over the winter, leaving the furnace off could lead to pipes freezing or even bursting. It’s never fun to get home from a vacation only to discover extensive water damage nearby a broken pipe.

Energy-Efficient Thermostat Settings While at Work

You can optimize the temperature even if you’re coming and going to work. Because you’re not home for around 8 hours or so, it doesn’t seem sensible to keep an empty home at the same temperature you’d usually have. As a general rule, it’s recommended to turn up the thermostat by 5 degrees or so. That means that if you prefer a comfortable 72 degrees, consider increasing it to 76-77 while you’re gone.

But you may save even more if you're open to further adjusting the temperature. As reported by the Department of Energy, you may save about 10% on your HVAC expenses by raising the temperature by about 7-10 degrees.

Energy-Efficient Thermostat Settings While on Vacation in Summer

If you're on an extended trip in the hottest part of summer, you can make more significant adjustments. This helps you avoid using too much energy while still defending your home from the problems that come with leaving it uncooled. About 5 degrees is suitable for shorter trips while around 10 degrees is ideal if you’ll be gone for 2 weeks or longer. If you like keeping the house at 72 in the summer, 78-82 can offer the best results.

Best Thermostat Settings While On a Trip in Winter

To determine the best thermostat setting for a winter vacation, just lower the temperature by the same amount you would increase it in summer. 68 is a frequent winter thermostat setting, so adjusting to 63-58 will protect your plumbing while limiting how long your furnace runs.

A Smart Thermostat Can Help: Perks of Smart Thermostat Installation

One of the best ways to optimize your home’s HVAC system while away is by investing in a smart thermostat. This special type of programmable thermostat employs intelligent software to track your preferred comfort habits. It gradually understands these preferences and makes automatic changes to the schedule for better energy efficiency. And with Wi-Fi connectivity, you can remotely control your HVAC system with a mobile device or tablet.

Smart thermostats are stuffed with features to help you save even more. To provide an example, certain models can observe electricity prices to bolster heating or cooling when prices are lower. They can be used with high-efficiency, variable-speed equipment to refine how long your HVAC system has to run. It’s the perfect tool to simplify how you use your comfort system. If you’re planning on investing in a smart thermostat, there are a variety of ways you can lower your costs, in essence getting a smart thermostat for free. The next time you are away from home, you can appreciate true peace of mind that your HVAC system won’t stir up any trouble while you’re away from home.