You may have noticed that the thermostat on your furnace has the option to set it as “on” or “auto” but be unsure what these settings really mean for you and your home comfort. We turned to American Home Water and Air, one of the most well-respected HVAC and plumbing companies in the business today.
Based on their help, we’ve put together the answers we sought on whether “on” or “auto” is the better thermostat setting for a home heating system.
“On” or “Auto”—What is the Difference?
The “auto” setting is recommended for most homeowners. This setting allows the furnace to cycle on and off as needed to maintain the temperature set on the thermostat. The advantage of this setting is that it can help save energy and reduce heating costs, as the furnace will not continuously run when it is not necessary.
If you set the thermostat to “on”, the furnace will run continuously until you turn it off, which can lead to higher energy usage and higher heating costs. The “on” setting is typically used in situations where a constant, steady temperature is needed, such as when you are home and using a room.
When Should I use the “Auto” Setting?
The “auto” setting on a thermostat allows the heating and cooling system to cycle on and off as needed to maintain the temperature set on the thermostat. This setting takes into account the temperature inside your home and adjusts the heating or cooling system accordingly to maintain the desired temperature so that the system is never overheating your home.
When the temperature inside your home falls below the set temperature, the heating system will turn on and heat your home until the temperature reaches the set point. Then, the system will turn off until the temperature inside your home drops again. This cycle continues until you change the thermostat setting or the temperature outside changes.
The “auto” setting is recommended because it can help reduce energy usage and lower heating and cooling costs. By only turning on the heating or cooling system when it is needed, you can save energy and money, compared to keeping the system running continuously.
When Should I Use the “On” Setting?
The “on” setting on a thermostat means that the heating and cooling system will run continuously, regardless of the temperature inside your home. This setting will keep the heating or cooling system running until you manually turn it off or change the setting to “auto.”
The “on” setting should be used when you need a constant, steady temperature in your home, such as when you are home and using a specific room. For example, if you are working from home and need a comfortable temperature in your office, you can set the thermostat to “on” and maintain a constant temperature.
It’s important to note that keeping the heating or cooling system running continuously can lead to higher energy usage and higher heating and cooling costs. So, it’s recommended to use the “on” setting only when necessary and to switch back to “auto” when you are done using the room or area.
What Is the Easiest Way to Maintain my Thermostat Settings?
One of the best ways you can maintain your thermostat settings without having to remember to make manual adjustments is to invest in a programmable thermostat and let it do the work for you. There are several advantages to upgrading to a programmable thermostat:
Increased energy efficiency
A programmable thermostat allows you to set a schedule for heating and cooling your home, so you can save energy when you’re not there. By reducing the amount of time your HVAC system runs, you can lower your energy bills.
A programmable thermostat can make your home more comfortable by automatically adjusting the temperature to your preferred setting, so you don’t have to manually adjust the thermostat throughout the day.
With a programmable thermostat, you can control your home’s temperature from anywhere using a smartphone app, which makes it easy to adjust the temperature if your schedule changes or if you forget to adjust it before leaving the house.
Most programmable thermostats are easy to install and set up, and many come with clear instructions and step-by-step guides.
Some common features of programmable thermostats include:
- Multiple daily temperature schedules: You can set different temperatures for various times of the day and different days of the week.
- Vacation mode: This allows you to set a lower temperature while you’re away from home to save energy.
- Smart home integration: Many programmable thermostats can be integrated with smart home systems, such as Amazon Alexa or Google Home, for voice control.
- Remote access: You can control your thermostat from anywhere using a smartphone app, so you can adjust the temperature before you get home.
- Energy usage tracking: Some programmable thermostats have the ability to track your energy usage, so you can see how much energy you’re using and make changes to reduce your energy usage.
Smart Thermostats vs Programmable Thermostats
It is important to remember that a smart thermostat is always programmable, but a programmable thermostat is not always smart. Though many tend to use the terms interchangeably, a smart thermostat possesses additional capabilities.
Here are some of the key differences between a smart and a programmable furnace thermostat:
- Connectivity: A smart thermostat can be connected to your home’s Wi-Fi network, which allows you to control it remotely using a smartphone app or other devices, while a programmable thermostat typically doesn’t have this capability.
- Learning capabilities: A smart thermostat can learn your habits and adjust the temperature accordingly, while a programmable thermostat can only follow the pre-set schedule.
- Integration with other devices: A smart thermostat can be integrated with other smart home devices, such as voice assistants or security systems, while a programmable thermostat usually can’t.
- Sensor capabilities: Smart thermostats often have sensors that detect whether you’re home or away, and can adjust the temperature accordingly, while a programmable thermostat can’t do this.
- User interface: Smart thermostats often have more advanced user interfaces, such as touchscreens, voice control, or smartphone apps, while programmable thermostats usually have simpler controls, such as buttons or dials.
With the information you need on “on” and “auto” settings and how to best operate your thermostat, you should be able to keep your home at its optimal temperature in an energy-efficient manner.