woman adjusting thermostat

Should I Set My Thermostat to ON or AUTO?

Have you ever looked at your thermostat and wondered if you should be using the “on” setting or the “auto” setting? You’re not alone. Most people aren’t clear on what the difference is between these two settings or which one is better than the other.

In truth, each of these settings is better at different things. The key is to understand when to use “on” versus “auto.”

Looking to upgrade to a Wi-Fi Thermostat? Learn more here.

ON vs. AUTO: What is the difference?

Your central heating and air conditioning (HVAC) system has a fan that circulates air throughout your home. Your thermostat’s “auto” and “on” setting tells this fan what to do:

  • When you’re using the “auto” setting, then the fan will only circulate air while your HVAC system is actively heating or cooling air.
  • When you’re using the “on” setting, then the fan will continuously circulate air through your home, even if your system is not actively heating or cooling air.

When Should I Use My Thermostat’s AUTO Setting?

You should use your thermostat’s “auto” setting when you want to spend the least amount of money running your heater or air conditioner. The fan will only run (and use energy) as long as the rest of your system is running—otherwise, it will be off, consuming no energy.

An additional benefit of the “auto” setting is that your air filter won’t get dirty as quickly. However, the frequent starting up and stopping can wear out the fan faster than running it continuously.

When Should I Use My Thermostat’s ON Setting?

You may want to use your thermostat’s “on setting” under these circumstances:

  • You want to give your home a chance to cool down or heat up evenly. Allowing the fan to run for a longer period can allow comfortable temperatures to disperse more evenly throughout your home.
  • You want to improve your home’s indoor air quality. This can come in handy especially here in California, where smoke from nearby wildfires often impacts indoor air quality. By allowing your home’s air to circulate through your HVAC system for longer periods, you can trap more pollutants in the air filter.

The biggest downside to the “on” setting is that it will run up your electric bill if you’re not careful. To avoid letting the fan run longer than necessary, you may want to set a timer on your phone to remind you to switch the setting after the fan has been running for a while.

At Monarch Home Services, we take pride in providing top-quality HVAC services throughout Bakersfield, Fresno, and Visalia. To schedule your heating or air conditioning service, give us a call today at (661) 271-6099.

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