When the weather starts to cool off, you may be concerned about how you’ll prepare your heating and cooling. After all, HVAC expenses frequently contribute a significant piece of your monthly electric bill. To learn new ways to save, some owners look closely at their thermostat. Maybe there’s a setting they should use to improve efficiency?
The bulk of thermostats have a ‘Fan’ or ‘Fan On’ setting. But if the fan is running during a typical cycle, what can the fan setting offer for your HVAC system? This guide should help. We’ll review just what the fan setting is and how you can use it to cut costs in the summer or winter.
What Is the Fan Setting on My Thermostat?
For the bulk of thermostats, the fan setting means that the system's blower fan remains on. Some furnaces will operate at a low level in this setting, but for the most part heating or cooling isn’t being generated. The ‘Auto’ setting, in contrast, will start the fan during a heating or cooling cycle and switch it off once the cycle is finished.
There are advantages and disadvantages to switching on the fan setting on your thermostat, and whether you do or don’t should depend on your personal comfort preferences.
Advantages to utilizing the Fan/On setting:
- You can keep the temperature in every room more balanced by enabling the fan to keep circulating air.
- Indoor air quality can increase as steady airflow will keep moving airborne particles through the air filter.
- A smaller amount of start-stop cycles for the HVAC fan helps extend its life span. As the air handler is often connected to the furnace, this means you might minimize the risk of needing furnace repair.
Drawbacks to utilizing the Fan/On setting:
- A nonstop fan will likely increase your energy bills by a small margin.
- Continuous airflow can clog your air filter soon, increasing the frequency you will want to replace it.
Should My Thermostat Be on Fan or Auto in Summer/Winter
Through the summer, warm air can persist 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, forcing the HVAC system to work harder to maintain the set temperature. In serious heat, this can result in needing AC repair more quickly as wear and tear increases.
The opposite can occur over the winter. Cooler spaces such as a basement will hold onto cooler air, which can eventually make its way into the rest of your home. Leaving the fan running 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, keep in mind that every home and family’s comfort needs are not the same. Leaving the HVAC system’s fan on may be ideal for you if:
Someone in your household suffers from allergies. Allergies and other respiratory conditions can be stressful on the family. Leaving the fan on should help to increase indoor air quality, helping your family breathe easier.
Your home experiences hot and cold spots. Lots of homes deal with difficult hot and cold spots that quickly evolve to a temperature different from the rest of the house. The fan setting should help lessen these changes by consistently refreshing each room’s airflow.