Whether it’s a relaxing vacation or an extended trip for work, traveling means making plans for your heating and cooling system. You don't need it while you’re on a trip, so you can adjust it as appropriate to minimize your energy use. At the same time, you shouldn't just leave it off for the entire time you're out of the house.

In general, it’s better to leave your HVAC system on and just raise or lower depending on whether it's winter or summer. That way you can lower energy costs without worrying about getting back to an uncomfortable home. We’ll review why you should avoid turning 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 shut your HVAC system down before a trip, this will sometimes end up stirring up costly problems by the time you return. This is notably true if the weather will be severely hot or cold while you’re gone.

As an example, switching the HVAC system off during the summer could produce very high humidity. Not only will your home feel like a swamp when you have returned, but it may have also stimulated mold/mildew growth or pest infestations.

And over the winter, letting your house get cold could lead to pipes icing over or even bursting. It’s never fun to return home from a nice trip only to find considerable water damage close to a broken pipe.

Best Thermostat Settings While at Work

You can adjust the temperature even when you're just going to work. Because you’re away for around 8 hours or so, 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 encouraged to turn up the thermostat by 5 degrees or so. That means that if you prefer a comfortable 72 degrees, try increasing it to 76-77 while you’re gone.

But you could save even more if you’re willing to further adjust the temperature. As stated by the Department of Energy, you could save around 10% on your HVAC expenses by making an adjustment of 7-10 degrees.

Energy-Efficient Thermostat Settings While on a Trip in Summer

If you’re leaving for a lengthier trip in the heart of summer, you can make more significant adjustments. This prevents wasting energy while still safeguarding your home from the hassles that come with leaving it uncooled. Something like 5 degrees is appropriate for shorter trips while a larger adjustment of 10 degrees is worthwhile if you’ll be away from home for 2 weeks or longer. If you enjoy keeping the house at 72 in the summer, 78-82 will offer great results.

Recommended Thermostat Settings While On a Trip in Winter

To figure out the best thermostat setting for a winter getaway, consider lowering the temperature by the same amount you would adjust it in summer. 68 is a popular winter thermostat setting, so adjusting to 63-58 will prevent ice from forming on pipes while restricting how long your furnace operates.

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 with a smart thermostat. This innovative type of programmable thermostat uses intelligent software to understand your usual comfort habits. It gradually understands these preferences and makes automatic changes to the schedule for higher energy efficiency. And with Wi-Fi connectivity, you can remotely control your heating and cooling using a mobile device or tablet.

Smart thermostats are packed with features to help you save on your energy bill. For instance, specific models can observe electricity prices to increase heating or cooling when prices are lower. They can also work with high-efficiency, variable-speed equipment to optimize how long your HVAC system has to run. It’s the ideal tool to streamline how you control your comfort system. If you’re thinking about investing in a smart thermostat, there are multiple ways you can lower 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 cause any trouble while you’re away.