Vacations are tons of fun, but they also cost a lot of money. The last thing you want to do is spend a chunk of your savings on a vacation and return home to huge heating or cooling costs. The following tips can help you manage the temperature of your house when you’re away while also lowering utility costs.

1. Close Your Curtains

It might sound simple, but closing curtains and blinds is one of the most effective ways to reduce both heating and cooling costs. Closed curtains prevent as much heat from entering the house, keeping it cooler during hot summer days. Similarly, they protect against the chill of winter. Investing in thermal drapes can also help keep the cold at bay and lower those heating bills, whether you are home or away.

2. Program Your Thermostat

Installing an HVAC system that you can control using a programmable thermostat is a huge step toward managing both heating and cooling when working long hours or on vacation. You can set the temperature of your house while you are away and return it to a comfortable level shortly before you get home. Experts recommend you raise the temperature of your home by 4 degrees during summer vacations and lower it by the same number during winter trips.

It might seem tempting to switch off your entire system while you are away, but this can create a variety of problems upon your return. These side effects include high humidity within the house that can lead to mold growth, musty odors, peeling paint, and warped wood and furniture. In winter, turning off your heat can cause pipes to burst and rooms to flood, which can create significant damage if left unattended.

Resetting an HVAC system that you’ve turned off upon your return requires the unit to work harder than normal to get the house back to a comfortable temperature. This can cause unnecessary wear and tear that could require repairs or additional services in the future.

3. Make Sure Your Doors and Windows Seal Properly

A cracked window or a gap in the seal of windows or doors can let valuable cold (or warm) air out. In winter, if you notice a slight chill whistling through what you thought were completely secure windows, your system is likely working harder and longer than it should, at more expense to you, to warm your home. The same goes for warm air seeping in through poorly sealed windows in summer. Air leaks can also cause moisture and humidity levels to rise.

To avoid air leaks, place weatherstripping around windows and doors and caulk any cracks. These materials are easy to apply and can help maintain your indoor temperatures when you’re not home.

While it might seem wasteful to keep your heat or air conditioning on while you’re away, it actually prevents your system from working overtime when you get home. By following these three tips, you might enjoy the long-term benefits of lower utility bills and a more comfortable house when you return.