man adjusting a thermostat

“Auto” vs. “On” for Unpredictable Weather

Indiana in October is full of surprises. We’ve learned through years of experience that this season, with temperatures constantly fluctuating between summer, fall, and winter, often keeps homeowners tinkering with their thermostats multiple times throughout the day.

Would it be best to leave your thermostat on the automatic setting? Or should you be managing the temperature with every change of the winds? Here’s what the experts say:

Turn it completely off.

The idea is that turning your air conditioner off when you’re away from home for more than a few hours will save you more than if it were starting and stopping on “auto” while you’re away.

Auto, definitely auto.

This “energy expert” adamantly believes in leaving your HVAC unit on automatic mode. He points to the numbers, saying that leaving your fan set to the “always on” position 24/7, will result in 200 extra hours of HVAC run time every month. That, he says, should be reason enough to keep your unit on automatic mode.

According to one of our BNG Heating & Cooling experts, “If the system is older, the fan or blower doesn’t have a circulation mode or low speed option which can cause too much air flow in the “off” cycle making it seem cooler. Duct work not being properly sized or sealed can cause issues as well. If the system is newer and has a variable speed motor and can run at a lower rate during circulation mode or the fan “on” option, then yes, running the fan in a continuous state is recommended.”

Keep it on, just a little higher.

Did you know that for every degree below 78, you’re increasing your energy use by 3 to 4 percent? Try setting your thermostat to just as high as you’re comfortable – and leaving it there.

Keep it on, all the time.

Jennifer Thorne Amann with the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy says that your HVAC unit will actually be more efficient if you leave the fan running. Instead of keeping it on auto mode, where the unit will turn on and off as it accomplishes then loses the same temperature, you should opt to keep the fan constantly going.

Our BNG expert agrees, stating that he keeps his unit set to the “on” position year round, for better temperature control and for better air filtration. This works best, though, if you have air purifiers. “If you have air purifiers,” he says, “the more the air moves across the purifier, the cleaner the air becomes.”

The consensus:

If you change your filters as regularly as you should, try leaving your HVAC set to the “on” position in order to achieve the best air filtration unless advised by a qualified heating and cooling professional to do otherwise!

The key is to pay attention to things like condensation collecting inside of your unit and to notice what settings on your thermostat regulate that condensation and keep you comfortable. Consider whether you should be trying to dehumidify with air conditioning, or adding moisture back into your air with your fan running alone. Keep tabs on important indicators of an efficiently or inefficiently-running system.

Monitor your energy bills in order to determine what settings seem to be saving the most energy (and money), and make sure that your unit is performing it’s best by scheduling regular maintenance and by keeping your air filters clean.

Call BNG TODAY to learn more about our maintenance plans to help ensure your HVAC is running as efficiently as possible during the unpredictable weather that’s surely headed our way!

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