As the weather is cooling off, you are probably thinking about how you’ll take full advantage of your heating and cooling. After all, HVAC costs routinely add up to a significant chunk of your monthly electric bill. To try and find ways to save, some homeowners look closely at their thermostat. Could there be a setting they can use to increase efficiency?
The bulk of thermostats come with a ‘Fan’ or ‘Fan On’ setting. But if the fan is on during a typical cycle, what will the fan setting provide for your HVAC system? This guide will help. We’ll walk through what exactly the fan setting is and whether you can use it to cut costs during the summer or winter.
What Is the Fan Setting on My Thermostat?
For the bulk of thermostats, the fan setting means that the HVAC blower fan remains on. Certain furnaces will generate heat at a low level with this setting, but in most cases heating or cooling isn’t being generated. The ‘Auto’ setting, in contrast, will run the fan during a heating or cooling cycle and switch it off once the cycle is complete.
There are pros and cons to trying the fan setting on your thermostat, and the ideal option will depend on your distinct comfort requirements.
Advantages to utilizing the Fan/On setting:
- You can keep the temperature throughout your home more balanced by allowing the fan to keep circulating air.
- Indoor air quality should improve because steady airflow will keep moving airborne particles into the air filter.
- A smaller amount of start-stop cycles for the HVAC fan helps extend its life span. Because the air handler is usually a component of the furnace, this means you might minimize the risk of needing furnace repair.
Downsides to switching to the Fan/On setting:
- A continuous fan could raise your energy bills somewhat.
- Nonstop airflow may clog your air filter up more quickly, increasing the frequency you’ll need to replace it.
Should My Thermostat Be on Fan or Auto in Summer/Winter
Through the summer, warm air will sometimes linger in unfinished spaces such as the attic or an attached garage. If you use the fan setting, your HVAC system might gradually move this warm air into the rest of your home, pushing the HVAC system to work harder to maintain the desired temperature. In serious heat, this can result in needing AC repair more quickly as wear and tear grows.
The reverse can occur in the winter. Cooler spaces such as a basement will hold onto cooler air, which may eventually make its way into the rest of your home. Leaving the fan setting on will sometimes draw more cold air upward, increasing the amount of heating you need to remain warm.
If you’re still trying to determine if you should use the fan/on setting, don’t forget that every home and family’s comfort needs will vary. Leaving the HVAC system’s fan on could be best for you if:
Someone in your household suffers from allergies. Allergies and other respiratory conditions can be tough on the family. Leaving the fan on can help to increase indoor air quality, helping your family breathe easier.
Your home deals with hot and cold spots. Lots of homes wrestle with difficult hot and cold spots that quickly shift to a temperature different from the rest of the house. The fan setting should help lessen these changes by consistently refreshing each room’s ventilation.