Between a tropical vacation or a lengthy trip for work, leaving home means making plans for your home comfort system. You won’t be using it if you’re not home, so you can make adjustments as necessary to conserve your energy use. Simultaneously, you don’t want to just leave it off for the entire time you're out of the house.

Instead, it’s best to leave your HVAC system running and adjust the temperature depending on the season. That way you can reduce energy costs without having to worry about returning to an uncomfortable home. We’ll explain why you should avoid turning your HVAC system off as well as the most energy-efficient thermostat settings for summer and winter.

Here’s Why You Don't Leave Your Thermostat on Hold

While you may be tempted to turn your HVAC system off before a trip, this can end up causing costly problems by the time you get back. This is especially true when the weather will be severely hot or cold while you’re gone.

For instance, turning the HVAC system down in the summer could cause very high humidity. Not only will your home feel like a swamp when you return, but it could have also invited mold/mildew growth or pest infestations.

And during the winter, leaving the furnace off could lead to pipes icing over or even bursting. It’s an awful feeling to get home from a long trip only to come across extensive water damage close to a broken pipe.

Ideal Thermostat Settings While at Work

You can optimize the temperature even when you're just going to work. Because you’re away for 8 hours or more, it doesn’t help your monthly energy bill to keep an empty home the same temperature as when you're home. Generally, it’s recommended to turn up the thermostat by 5 degrees or more. This means that if you prefer a comfortable 72 degrees, think about raising it to 76-77 while you’re at work.

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

Ideal Thermostat Settings While Away from Home in Summer

If you leave for a longer trip in the heart of summer, you can make more significant adjustments. This helps you avoid using too much energy while still defending your home from the problems that come with leaving it without air conditioning. Around 5 degrees is appropriate for shorter trips while around 10 degrees is ideal if you’ll be out of town for 2 weeks or longer. If you like keeping the house at 72 in the summer, 78-82 should offer the best results.

Recommended Thermostat Settings While on Vacation in Winter

To determine the best thermostat setting for a winter vacation, just lower 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 protect your plumbing while restricting how long your furnace runs.

A Smart Thermostat Can Help: Benefits of a Smart Thermostat

An ideal strategy to optimize your home’s HVAC system while out of the house is with a smart thermostat. This innovative type of programmable thermostat utilizes intelligent software to understand your typical comfort habits. It applies these preferences and makes automatic adjustments to the schedule for higher energy efficiency. And with Wi-Fi compatibility, you can remotely access your heating and cooling from a mobile device or tablet.

Smart thermostats are loaded with features to help you save on your energy bill. To provide an example, specific models can observe electricity prices to bolster heating or cooling when prices are lowest. They are compatible with high-efficiency, variable-speed equipment to optimize how long your HVAC system should run. It’s the perfect tool to simplify how you use your comfort system. If you’re thinking about investing in a smart thermostat, there are a variety of ways you can lower your costs, essentially getting a smart thermostat for free. The next time you are away from home, you can appreciate true peace of mind that your HVAC system won’t cause any trouble while you’re away from home.