man relaxing in a chair at the airport

From a relaxing vacation or an extended trip for work, traveling means making plans for your HVAC system. You don't need it as long as you’re away, so you can adjust the temperature as appropriate to conserve your energy use. Simultaneously, you shouldn't just turn it off for the entire time you're gone.

For the most part, it’s better to leave your HVAC system going and adjust the temperature depending on the season. That way you can reduce energy costs without stressing about getting back to an uncomfortable home. We’ll review why you should avoid turning your HVAC system off as well as the ideal thermostat settings for different times of year.

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

While you could be inclined to turn your HVAC system off before a trip, this will sometimes end up stirring up annoying 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.

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

And in the winter, letting your house get cold can lead to pipes icing over or even bursting. It’s an awful feeling to return home from a long trip only to discover considerable water damage nearby a broken pipe.

Best Thermostat Settings While at Work

You can optimize the temperature even when you're just going to work. Since you’re away for 8 hours or more, it doesn’t make sense to keep an empty home heated or cooled as if you were there. Generally, it’s recommended to raise the thermostat by 5 degrees or more. Meaning that if you prefer a comfortable 72 degrees, try increasing it to 76-77 while you’re out.

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

Best Thermostat Settings While Away from Home in Summer

If you leave for a lengthier trip in the middle of summer, you can make more significant adjustments. This prevents wasting energy while still protecting your home from the hassles that come with leaving it un-air conditioned. Around 5 degrees is suitable for short trips while a larger adjustment of 10 degrees is worthwhile if you’ll be out of town for 2 weeks or longer. If you enjoy keeping the house at 72 in the summer, 78-82 should offer great results.

Recommended Thermostat Settings While on Vacation in Winter

To figure out 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 frequent winter thermostat setting, so adjusting to 63-58 will keep your plumbing safe while restricting how often your furnace operates.

Smart Thermostats Are Even Better: Advantages of a Smart Thermostat

One of the best ways to regulate your home’s HVAC system while out of the house is using a smart thermostat. This innovative type of programmable thermostat uses intelligent software to understand your typical comfort habits. It applies these preferences and makes automatic corrections to the schedule for maximum energy efficiency. And with Wi-Fi connectivity, you can remotely access your HVAC system with a mobile device or tablet.

Smart thermostats are stuffed with features to help you save energy and lower costs. To provide an example, some models can track electricity prices to increase heating or cooling when prices are more affordable. They are compatible with high-efficiency, variable-speed equipment to optimize how long your HVAC system has to 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 multiple ways you can lower your costs, in essence 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 stir up any trouble while you’re away.