Whether it’s a tropical vacation or a lengthy trip for work, leaving home means making plans for your home comfort system. You don't need it as long as you’re away, so you can adjust the temperature as necessary to minimize your energy use. At the same time, you don’t want to just turn it off for the entire time you're out of the house.

In general, it’s ideal 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 coming back to an uncomfortable home. We’ll review why you should leave your HVAC system on as well as the ideal thermostat settings for various times of year.

This Is Why You Shouldn’t Leave Your Thermostat Alone

While you may be tempted to shut your HVAC system down before a trip, this could end up stirring up annoying problems by the time you return. This is notably true when the weather will be severely hot or cold while you’re away from home.

For instance, switching the HVAC system down during the summer could lead to 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, leaving the furnace off will sometimes lead to pipes icing over or even bursting. It’s exhausting to come home from a vacation only to find substantial water damage nearby a broken pipe.

Energy-Efficient Thermostat Settings While at Work

You can make temperature adjustments even if you’re coming and going to work. Considering you’re out of the house for 8 hours or more, it doesn’t make sense 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 so. This means that if you prefer a comfortable 72 degrees, try raising it to 76-77 while you’re at work.

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

Best Thermostat Settings While on Vacation in Summer

If you leave for a lengthier trip in the heart of summer, you can make bigger adjustments. This ensures you don’t waste energy while still safeguarding your home from the problems that come with leaving it un-air conditioned. About 5 degrees is appropriate for shorter trips while around 10 degrees is ideal if you’ll be gone for 2 weeks or longer. If you prefer keeping the house at 72 in the summer, 78-82 will offer the best results.

Best Thermostat Settings While Away from Home in Winter

To figure out the best thermostat setting for a winter trip, simply lower it by the same amount you would adjust it in summer. 68 is a frequent winter thermostat setting, so lowering it to 63-58 will keep your plumbing safe while restricting how often your furnace runs.

A Smart Thermostat Can Help: Benefits of a Smart Thermostat

One of the best ways 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 preferred comfort habits. It gradually understands these preferences and makes automatic changes to the schedule for maximum energy efficiency. And with Wi-Fi integration, you can remotely access your HVAC system using a smart device like a phone or tablet.

Smart thermostats are packed with features to help you save on your energy bill. For example, certain models can observe electricity prices to bolster heating or cooling when prices are more affordable. They can be used with high-efficiency, variable-speed equipment to fine-tune how long your HVAC system should run. It’s the optimal tool to enhance how you control your comfort system. If you’re thinking about investing in a smart thermostat, there are different ways you can reduce 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 cause any trouble while you’re away.