When to Use the Car’s Recirculation Button

recirculated air

You know that button in your car with the arrow that looks like it’s going in a circle? It’s one that not a lot of people know exactly what it is for even if they do push it on occasion.

But there are a lot of people out there that never use the Recirculation Button because they just don’t know what it can do. Don’t worry; it’s awesome when used right – read on!

In the Winter and Cold Weather: You don’t want to use Recirculated Air in the winter because it traps humidity inside the car, resulting in super foggy windows – not good! So when it’s cold outside, make sure that Recirculation is NOT selected. There are some that think it makes sense to not have “all that cold air coming in” if they are using the Fresh Air mode (It has an arrow going from outside to inside the car on most vehicles), but they need not worry. The Fresh Air mode forces the outside air through your heater core so it’s nice and toasty before it reaches you, and your windows will de-fog a lot quicker and stay that way while you drive. Fresh Air is your friend in the Winter!

So what exactly is that button for? It’s mainly for the Summertime.

Using the Recirculation button helps get your car as cool as possible when it’s hot outside and you have the A/C on. It recirculates the kind-of-cool air that you get from the A/C when you first turn it on, and the longer it’s on, the cooler you car gets until it’s as cool as the system can possibly be. (If your A/C doesn’t get very cold even with the Recirculation button pressed, get your car to the shop right away, there’s likely a problem.)

If you use Fresh Air – the air from outside that’s much warmer in the summer, the air conditioning must work continuously to cool the hot air from the outside when pulling it into the vehicle, so it’s definitely not ideal. You are also putting undue wear-and-tear on your A/C compressor and getting less fuel economy as a result.

There is a chance, however, that the Recirculation button is missing on your car. Many newer models are equipped with sensors that monitor your in-cabin air moisture levels and switch automatically between Recirculated and fresh air, so don’t stress if you don’t see Recirculation or Fresh Air buttons on your model, you’re just fancier than the rest of us. Apparently.

Pro Tips: In Summer, roll down your windows for a bit when you first get going to flush out all of that superheated, stuffy air that’s built up in your car from sitting in the sun. Even if it’s just for half a block, you’ll have a jump start on cooling Old Bessie down to a comfortable temperature as soon as possible. In Winter, hit your A/C button when you first start the car to help clear the windows faster. The A/C system de-humidifies air by nature, so it will shorten the time it takes. Don’t worry, your heater will still warm up as it should, just make sure it’s set on HOT!

If you have any questions about your vehicle’s heating and cooling systems, we would love to help provide the answers. Give us a call today or schedule an appointment to come see us.