Are You Overworking Your Furnace This Winter?

Florida winters are mild compared to the vast majority of the United States – but that doesn’t mean we don’t crank up the heat when the temperatures dip into the 40s and 50s (or for some, the 60s!). But have you stopped to check your thermostat settings before turning on the heat? If not, you could be overworking your furnace – and draining your wallet.

Understanding Your Thermostat Settings

Most people understand the basics of a thermostat – you adjust the temperature to have the ac or heat run at a desired level and the HVAC system kicks on and gets to work. Some even program their thermostat to maintain specific temperatures throughout the day.

There is something many individuals miss – the fan setting.

The fan runs with both the AC and the heat settings. It is the HVAC system’s blower, the device that circulates the hot/cold air through your home. There are two settings at which the fan can or will run:

  • ON: Whether or not your HVAC system is heating (or cooling) the air, this setting leaves the blower on 24/7. Which means the blower is constantly working to circulate the air through your home.
  • AUTO: This setting tells the blower to only circulate the air when the AC or furnance is actively working to cool/warm the air.

The Problem With ON

If your fan setting is turned to ON, then your blower is working non-stop. Which means it is using energy all day long – something that will not only drive your bill up but will put extra wear and tear on your HVAC system. In addition, having your thermostat fan setting to ON is a bit of a waste in general – according to Energy Star, at least 20% (but up to 30%) of a home’s air is lost through leaks in the duct work.

This loss in air can result in your HVAC system not registering the home warm or cool enough according to the temperature set on the thermostat and kick on another warming/cooling cycle sooner than it should be. Further increasing the energy consumed by your HVAC unit and your energy usage.

AUTO helps to minimize wear and tear while still occasionally circulating the air when needed. With minimal air loss throughout the day, your HVAC system won’t be working nearly as hard while till managing to keep your home at a comfortable temperature.

Extra Tip

For individuals with allergies, pets in the home, or those trying to improve their indoor air quality through increased air circulation, check your thermostat for a fan setting for “CIRCULATE”. Not all thermostats have it but if yours does, it enables you to run your blower for a short one-time cycle or intermittently for a period of time to cycle the air through your HVAC system; cleaning it through the air filter. It helps to circulate the air more often than AUTO but not as constantly as it does when set to ON.

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