Should I set my thermostat to ON or AUTO?

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Every year there are a few blessed weeks or months in the spring and fall when your home doesn’t seem to need any heating or AC. But what about the other months – when you’ve got to deal with the sweltering heat of July and August or the frigid cold of February? You’ve got to make use of your HVAC system, but you might be wondering about all those settings on your thermostat. Is there one right setting that will help your air conditioner or furnace run more efficiently while keeping your home at a comfortable temperature?

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Most thermostats today give you the option of either setting the fan to “ON” or to “AUTO”, and many so-called experts will advocate for one or the other of these settings. The truth is though that both have their advantages – and both have their disadvantages.

In this article, we will review the pros and cons of the ON and AUTO settings on your thermostat.

The ON setting for Thermostats

If you are simply melting from the heat this summer, there is a good chance that you might set your thermostat fan to on – meaning that the fan will run continuously, circulating cool air through your home until you manually turn it off. This same principle applies to your furnace during the winter months.

Advantages of ON

Since air is continuously being pulled through your filtration system, the air in your home is constantly being cleaned. Also, using the ON setting can extend the lifespan of the fan since there will be fewer stops and starts.

Disadvantages of ON

The cost of energy in Ontario is not exactly what most people would consider cheap – and running the fan on your AC or furnace 24/7 will put a dent in the household budget. Additionally, since you are constantly cleaning the air, you will need to change your filters much more often to keep your HVAC system running at optimal levels.

The AUTO setting

When using the auto setting, your fan will kick in either when a timer or limit circuit tells it to.

Advantages of AUTO on your Thermostat

The big advantage of using the AUTO setting is that you are conserving energy – and for the environmentally conscious person, emitting less greenhouse gases is always a good thing. Using less energy also means that it will cost you considerably less on your energy bills.

Disadvantages of AUTO

Multiple stops and starts of your fan will inevitably wear it out more quickly than if it was running continually.

Furthermore, when you set your thermostat to AUTO, the heating or cooling will not be distributed as evenly through your home as it would be with the ON setting.

Choosing the setting that is right for you

Ultimately, when choosing the thermostat setting that is right for you, you’ll need to consider what is most important to you – temperature and air quality vs. cost and environmental concerns. If you are living with or entertaining an elderly person or someone with respiratory issues, for example, you may choose to set the thermostat to ON in order to help keep them more comfortable. On the other hand, if all those in your home are in relatively good health and you don’t mind some fluctuations in your home’s temperature, setting the thermostat to AUTO will save you quite a bit of money on your utility bills.

And remember – it doesn’t have to be all or nothing. You can always change between ON or AUTO depending on your circumstance.

For Furnace or Air Conditioning installations, repairs and servicing, contact Hamilton Home Comfort today. Located in Stoney Creek, we service the surrounding areas such as Guelph, Hamilton, Milton and Binbrook.