HOUSTON – If you’re sitting in traffic or just driving around Houston, there’s a button on your car’s dashboard you need to know about -- especially with gas prices surging.
It’s the recirculation button.
If you’re looking for it, you’ll find it, but it’s often the thing you likely look at and aren’t sure what to do with it. The recirculation button is the button on your dash that sports a car outline with a U-shaped arrow inside of it.
This button stops air flow from outside your vehicle so your air conditioner recirculates the air inside of the vehicle that’s already cool or on its way to being cool.
U.K. car company Eden Tyers & Servicing shared in a blog post that the recirculation button also helps with “boosting your AC to help your cabin get as cold as possible as quickly as possible, stopping pollution and exhaust fumes,” as well as “reducing pollen when driving if you suffer from hay fever” and “stopping strong outdoor odors entering your car.”
Who knew one mysterious button in your car could do all that?
If you choose not to use the button, your car will have to pull in air from the outside and work hard to cool that air rather than the already chilled air circulating in your vehicle’s interior. Work smarter, not harder (or at least let your air-conditioner) and push that button already.
Don’t use it under these conditions -- rare now in the Houston area 😆
One caveat: You may want to avoid using this button in the wintertime.
“Some drivers think it makes sense to not have ‘all that cold air coming in’ if they are using heaters in winter,” The Eden Tyers & Servicing blog post says. “However, in reality, it’s best to keep it switched off. The standard ‘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.”
The recirculation button is also great because your air conditioner doesn’t have to cool air from the temperature outside, but rather maintain the air temperature already achieved inside your vehicle, thus using less energy (your gas tank) to maintain cool temps in your vehicle.