Between a tropical vacation or a long trip for work, taking a trip means making preparations for your HVAC system. You can't use it if you’re not home, so you can adjust the temperature as needed to limit your energy use. At the same time, you shouldn't just leave it off for the entire time you're out of the house.

Instead, it’s better to leave your HVAC system going and just make adjustments depending on the time of year. That way you can reduce energy costs without worrying about returning to an uncomfortable home. We’ll walk you through 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 Avoid Leaving Your Thermostat on Hold

While you might be wanting to shut your HVAC system down before a trip, this will sometimes end up leading to costly problems by the time you get back. This is especially true in case the weather will be severely hot or cold while you’re gone.

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 have returned, but it may have also stimulated mold/mildew growth or pest infestations.

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

Best Thermostat Settings While at Work

You can adjust the temperature even as you come and go to work. Since you’re out of the house for 8 hours or more, 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. That means that if you prefer a comfortable 72 degrees, consider raising it to 76-77 while you’re gone.

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

Energy-Efficient Thermostat Settings While Away from Home in Summer

If you're on an extended trip in the hottest part of summer, you can make bigger adjustments. This ensures you don’t waste energy while still defending your home from the issues that come with leaving it un-air conditioned. Something like 5 degrees is appropriate for short trips while around 10 degrees is best 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.

Ideal Thermostat Settings While On a Trip in Winter

To try and find the ideal thermostat setting for a winter trip, just lower the temperature by the same amount you would adjust it in summer. 68 is a frequent winter thermostat setting, so lowering it to 63-58 will prevent ice from forming on pipes while limiting how long your furnace runs.

A Smart Thermostat Can Help: Perks of a Smart Thermostat

One of the best ways to optimize your home’s HVAC system while out of the house is by investing in a smart thermostat. This innovative type of programmable thermostat utilizes intelligent software to track your preferred comfort habits. It learns these preferences and makes automatic adjustments to the schedule for better energy efficiency. And with Wi-Fi connectivity, you can remotely adjust your heating and cooling with a mobile device or tablet.

Smart thermostats are packed with features to help you save on your energy bill. To provide an example, certain models can monitor electricity prices to boost heating or cooling when prices are lower. They are compatible with high-efficiency, variable-speed equipment to optimize how long your HVAC system needs to run. It’s the perfect tool to simplify how you control your comfort system. If you’re planning on investing in a smart thermostat, there are different ways you can reduce your costs, effectively getting a smart thermostat for free. The next time you leave for vacation, you can enjoy true peace of mind that your HVAC system won’t stir up any trouble while you’re gone.