Whether it’s a tropical vacation or a lengthy trip for work, taking a trip means making preparations for your home comfort system. You don't need it while you’re on a trip, so you can make adjustments as appropriate to minimize your energy use. Simultaneously, you shouldn't just shut it down for the entire time you're gone.

For the most part, it’s better to leave your HVAC system on and just raise or lower depending on the season. That way you can lower energy costs without having to worry about returning to an uncomfortable home. We’ll walk you through why you shouldn’t turn your HVAC system off as well as the best thermostat settings for different times of year.

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

While you could be wanting to leave your HVAC system off before a trip, this can end up leading to big problems by the time you come back. This is notably true in case the weather will be severely hot or cold while you’re away from home.

For example, switching the HVAC system off during the summer could produce very high humidity. Not only will your home feel gross when you come back, but it could have also encouraged mold/mildew growth or pest infestations.

And in the winter, letting your house get cold will sometimes lead to pipes freezing or even bursting. It’s never fun to return home from a nice trip only to find substantial water damage close to a broken pipe.

Energy-Efficient Thermostat Settings While at Work

You can make temperature adjustments even as you come and go to work. Considering you’re not home for about 8 hours or longer, it doesn’t help your monthly energy bill to keep an empty home at the same temperature you’d usually have. As a general rule, it’s suggested to turn up the thermostat by 5 degrees or so. This means that if you prefer a comfortable 72 degrees, consider increasing it to 76-77 while you’re gone.

But you can save even more if you try further adjustments to the temperature. According to the Department of Energy, you may save around 10% on your HVAC spending by making an adjustment of 7-10 degrees.

Ideal Thermostat Settings While Away from Home in Summer

If you’re leaving for a longer trip in the hottest part of summer, you can make larger adjustments. This prevents wasting energy while still safeguarding your home from the problems that come with leaving it without air conditioning. Something like 5 degrees is recommended for brief trips while around 10 degrees is best if you’ll be out of town for 2 weeks or more. If you prefer keeping the house at 72 in the summer, 78-82 should offer beneficial results.

Best Thermostat Settings While Away from Home in Winter

To determine the most energy-efficient thermostat setting for a winter getaway, simply lower it by the same amount you would adjust it in summer. 68 is a common winter thermostat setting, so turning it down to 63-58 will prevent ice from forming on pipes while restricting how long your furnace operates.

A Smart Thermostat Can Help: Benefits of Smart Thermostat Installation

An ideal strategy to regulate your home’s HVAC system while away is using a smart thermostat. This innovative type of programmable thermostat employs intelligent software to track your usual comfort habits. It applies these preferences and makes automatic changes to the schedule for maximum energy efficiency. And with Wi-Fi connectivity, you can remotely adjust your HVAC system from a smart device like a phone or tablet.

Smart thermostats are stuffed with features to help you save even more. For example, certain models can observe electricity prices to bolster heating or cooling when prices are more affordable. They are compatible with high-efficiency, variable-speed equipment to refine how long your HVAC system should run. It’s the perfect tool to streamline how you use your comfort system. If you’re thinking about investing in a smart thermostat, there are different ways you can lower 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.