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Should You Use the “Fan On” or “Auto” Thermostat Setting?

Have you ever looked at your home’s thermostat and found yourself puzzled by the setting options? The thermostat setting you use, whether “on” or “auto” can make a big difference in efficiency and comfort.

What Do the Settings Mean?

First, it helps to understand that any forced-air HVAC system has two main elements of operation: the components that cool or heat the air, and the blower and ductwork that circulate air throughout the house.

The fan setting on the thermostat dictates how the second part of that equation works. If the thermostat is set to “on” (or “fan only” in some thermostats), the air distribution will continue 24/7, including when the A/C or heater aren’t operating. When set to “auto,” the blower or air handler only circulates air in tandem with the cooling or heating process.

Why “Auto” Is Usually Better

While some HVAC experts recommend using the “on” fan setting to better distribute air in a home, the “auto” setting is preferable for several reasons:

  • If you have an oversized A/C or heat pump, it will frequently cycle on and off. This means some of the moisture removed from the air during air conditioning will remain on the evaporator coil during “off” cycles. If the fan is continuing to operate during the “off” cycle, that water will evaporate right back into the indoor air. So while your house should be cooling off, it will remain humid instead.
  • Continuous fan operation wastes energy.
  • Many people appreciate the silence between cooling and heating cycles that occurs with “auto” fan operation.
  • If you have leaky ductwork, continuous fan operation will increase the amount of air loss and air infiltration in the ducts, which are both situations you want to avoid.

For more information on how setting your thermostat fan can affect comfort and energy savings in your Kinston area home, give J&J Mechanical, Inc. a call at (855) 800-1341. We also offer a range of energy-smart, easy-to-use Bryant systems if you are considering any upgrades.

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