From a much-needed vacation or a long trip for work, taking a trip means making plans for your home comfort system. You won’t be using it if you’re on a trip, so you can adjust it as necessary to conserve your energy use. Simultaneously, you shouldn't just leave it off for the entire time you're gone.

Instead, it’s better to leave your HVAC system on and just make adjustments depending on the time of year. That way you can minimize energy costs without worrying about getting back to an uncomfortable home. We’ll explain why you shouldn’t turn your HVAC system off as well as the most energy-efficient thermostat settings for different times of year.

Here’s Why You Shouldn’t Leave Your Thermostat Alone

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

As an example, shutting the HVAC system off in the summer could cause very high humidity. Not only will your home feel gross when you return, but it could have also invited mold/mildew growth or pest infestations.

And over the winter, leaving the furnace off could lead to pipes freezing up or even bursting. It’s exhausting to return home from a long trip only to find extensive water damage nearby a broken pipe.

Ideal Thermostat Settings While at Work

You can make temperature adjustments even as you come and go to work. Since you’re not home for about 8 hours or longer, it doesn’t seem sensible to keep an empty home heated or cooled as if you were there. As a general rule, it’s suggested to turn up the thermostat by 5 degrees or more. That means that if you prefer a comfortable 72 degrees, consider adjusting it to 76-77 while you’re out.

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

Energy-Efficient Thermostat Settings While on a Trip in Summer

If you leave for a lengthier trip in the heart of summer, you can make larger adjustments. This prevents wasting energy while still defending your home from the problems that come with leaving it uncooled. About 5 degrees is suitable for brief trips while closer to 10 degrees is ideal if you’ll be gone for 2 weeks or more. If you enjoy keeping the house at 72 in the summer, 78-82 will offer great results.

Best 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 raise it in summer. 68 is a frequent winter thermostat setting, so lowering it to 63-58 will protect your plumbing while restricting how frequently your furnace runs.

Smart Thermostats Are Even Better: Benefits of Smart Thermostat Installation

An ideal strategy to manage your home’s HVAC system while away from home is by investing in 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 adjustments to the schedule for better energy efficiency. And with Wi-Fi connectivity, you can remotely access your HVAC system from a smartphone or tablet.

Smart thermostats are stuffed with features to help you save energy and lower costs. For instance, specific models can observe electricity prices to boost heating or cooling when prices are lowest. They are compatible with high-efficiency, variable-speed equipment to optimize how long your HVAC system needs to run. It’s the ideal tool to simplify how you use your comfort system. If you’re planning on investing in a smart thermostat, there are different ways you can lower your costs, effectively getting a smart thermostat for free. The next time you are away from home, you can receive true peace of mind that your HVAC system won’t cause any trouble while you’re away from home.