Understanding your Thermostat. What’s the difference between ON and AUTO?

You’ve seen a thermostat in your home since you were little but do you know the difference between these settings or what they really mean?

You’ve most likely been told to keep your thermostat set to “Auto” but do you know why?

The simplest answer is of course because “On” is going to cost you more money. We will explain exactly why, but first lets look at what makes the two settings different and some Pro’s and Con’s for each setting.

The difference between “On” and “Auto”

These two settings refer to how your fan is going to run. The fan is located inside of your unit and is what pushes the air through your home.

“Auto” means that the fan automatically works ONLY when the air needs to be heated or cooled. Once your home reaches the desired temperature it will shut off until it is needed again.

“On” means that your fan is going to run 24/7, even when the air it pushes out is not being heated or cooled.

Why you might want to reconsider “On”

  • Electric Bill – Running the fan 24/7 is an energy waster! Keeping it running could be adding up to $50 a month to your electricity bill.
  • Air Filter Replacement – Because the fan is continuously running you are going to have a build up of dust and debris in your air filter much quicker than if you had the setting on “Auto” which means you will have to replace your filter much more often.
  • Counterproductive in the Winter – When it is not in a heating cycle the air that is pushed out is cold. This may cause you to increase your heat unnecessarily.
  • Blower Maintenance – Using the fan more often means that it is going to need to be serviced more and will be more likely to break down if not kept up on.

Advantages to “On”

While you shouldn’t use it as your regular setting, there are still some advantages to using the “On” setting. These advantages include:

  • Air Circulation – Having the fan on all the time will ensure better circulation throughout your home.
  • Asthma/Allergy Benefits – Do you or someone in your home suffer from allergies? If so, having that constant air circulation ensures that your air quality is better.
  • Dust Bunny Buster – Having the fan on pulls dust into your air filter before it has time to settle.

Disadvantages to “Auto”

  • Uneven Heating – Due to the fact that the fan is only on when there is a need for hot or cold air, there is a less even distribution. Once the thermostat is at the desired temperature the fan will stop moving air to all other spaces in the home.
  • Future Repairs – More starts and stops can also cause more wear and tear on the fan and may cause it to fail.
  • Filter – A clean filter is a filter that isn’t doing its job!

Advantages to “Auto”

  • Energy Saver – The fan is running as little as possible and at the slowest speed possible needed to reach the desired temperature. Because of this, less energy is used.
  • Filter Saver – You will go through less filters because the air is not circulating as often.

The Winner?

In the end it all comes down to what you feel is going to be best for you and your family. In general, the recommendation is to set your thermostat to the “Auto” setting and to use the “On” setting only when necessary.

If you find that you have any issues with your fan settings or feel that your furnace is not at peak performance, give Comfort Pro’s a call! Click HERE to Schedule an Appointment Online!

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