Which thermostat fan setting is better? ON or AUTO? Our neighborly experts have the answers you need!

Given Ohio’s unpredictable weather, our neighbors love their AC’s cooling and their furnace’s heating as needed on demand. So much so that many folks see their thermostat’s ON and AUTO settings and think leaving it ON is best. But is it really?

How do you know which fan setting to use? And, what’s the difference between these two thermostat settings, anyway? Fortunately, we have all the thermostat-setting answers you need. In this article, we’ll provide detailed descriptions of the two thermostat fan options, and we’ll discuss whether setting your HVAC fan ON or AUTO is the best option to save on your energy bills and maximize the working life of your HVAC system.

So, what does the AUTO thermostat setting mean?

When your thermostat is set to AUTO, your HVAC system’s fan engages automatically when your system is actively heating or cooling. As soon as the thermostat detects that the air in your home has reached the target temperature, the system turns itself off. The fan only turns on once the temperature exceeds the target temperature, restarting the system.

Why would you want your thermostat set to AUTO?

1. Since AUTO means the fan only runs when the system is active, rather than constantly blowing, AUTO is more energy-efficient than ON. This means you’ll use less energy and save money on your energy bill by setting your thermostat to AUTO.

2. Your air filter won’t need to be cleaned or replaced as frequently when using the AUTO setting. When set to ON, the fan blows continuously, and dust and dirt particles are trapped in the filter faster. A clogged filter can cause problems. For example, the additional air pressure can cause your system to turn off before it should (short-cycling), which can wear out parts prematurely.

3. In the summer, your air conditioning system needs time to rest so condensed moisture can drain away. Unfortunately, when the fan runs continuously, it can’t drain, and water droplets are blown back through the filter and back into your home, causing your HVAC system to work even harder to remove the extra moisture from the air.

Why wouldn’t you want your thermostat set to AUTO?

1. The AUTO thermostat setting increases humidity in your home, and some rooms may be warmer or colder than you want. This happens because the system stops operating based on the temperature of the air rather than running continuously.

2. The frequent stops and starts when using the AUTO setting may cause a costly blower repair since the fan may wear out faster than the ON setting.

So, what does the ON thermostat setting mean?

When your thermostat is set to ON, the fan constantly blows, even when your home reaches the thermostat’s target temperature and even when your HVAC system isn’t actively heating or cooling the air in your home.

Why would you want your thermostat set to ON?

1. Since your system’s fan runs continually, air distribution in your home is more even. This helps keep areas of your home from being too cold or too hot.

2. Running the fan constantly might reduce the risk of damage and increase the life of your blower’s motor, as opposed to the stop-start pattern when set to AUTO.

3. With your fan constantly engaged, more air is circulated and filtered faster. This reduces dust and other allergens compared to having the fan set to AUTO.

Why wouldn’t you want your thermostat set to ON?

1. Constantly running your HVAC system’s fan is less environmentally friendly and will increase your energy bill. Also, some HVAC systems’ fans are not rated for continuous use. Consult your owner’s manual or contact us if you’re unsure.

2. Since more air in your home is being circulated, setting your thermostat fan to ON will require your HVAC system’s filter to be replaced more often.

3. The constant force of air can cause leaks in your home’s air ducts. Also, if your ductwork already has leaks, the continuous blowing will enlarge them.

So, which setting is best? ON or AUTO?

The Hey Neighbor Heating & Cooling team recommends setting your thermostat to AUTO as often as possible.

Why, you ask? Well, the benefits of constantly running your HVAC system are far outweighed by higher energy bills and overall increased wear and tear. The latter leads to more frequent HVAC repairs and more money out of your pocket to keep your system running. Another benefit: AUTO makes your home a quieter place than ON’s constant fan noise.

Let Hey Neighbor Heating & Cooling handle your HVAC maintenance and repairs

We offer expert advice and services to Northeast Ohio residents and businesses alike. We provide heating and cooling system installation, repair, maintenance, and replacement – we do it all!

We’re also available to evaluate your home’s insulation, address your air quality concerns, and replace your water heater. Hey Neighbor Heating & Cooling values all of our customers, regardless of your means or needs, and we’re proud to offer payment and financing options to suit any household!

If you have questions about setting your thermostat to ON vs. AUTO or have more general concerns, don’t hesitate to get the service your family deserves. Please schedule an appointment with our friendly and professional team as soon as possible. We can fix that!™


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