As the weather is cooling off, you might be concerned about how you’ll take full advantage of your heating and cooling. After all, HVAC bills frequently make up a big portion of your monthly electric bill. To learn new ways to lower their HVAC bill, some people take a closer look at their thermostat. Maybe there’s a setting they could use to boost efficiency?
The majority of thermostats come with a ‘Fan’ or ‘Fan On’ setting. But if the fan is on during a regular cycle, what can the fan setting provide for your HVAC system? This guide will help. We’ll review precisely what the fan setting is and whether you can use it to save money in the summer or winter.
What Is the Fan Setting on My Thermostat?
For the bulk of thermostats, the fan setting indicates that the system's blower fan keeps running. Certain furnaces will run at a low level in this setting, but in general heating or cooling isn’t being made. The ‘Auto’ setting, conversely, will run the fan during a heating or cooling cycle and turn it off once the cycle is over.
There are pros and cons to using the fan setting on your thermostat, and what's ideal will depend on your unique comfort needs.
Advantages to switching to the Fan/On setting:
- You can keep the temperature in every room more balanced by allowing the fan to keep running.
- Indoor air quality can increase as steady airflow will keep passing airborne contaminants through the air filter.
- Fewer start-stop cycles for the blower fan helps extend its life span. As the air handler is usually connected to the furnace, this means you might minimize the risk of needing furnace repair.
Downsides to using the Fan/On setting:
- A nonstop fan will likely raise your energy expenses somewhat.
- Nonstop airflow may 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
In the summer, warm air may stick around in unfinished spaces like the attic or an attached garage. If you leave the fan on, your HVAC system might gradually move this warm air into the rest of your home, compelling the HVAC system to run longer to preserve the preferred temperature. In serious heat, this may result in needing AC repair more regularly as wear and tear increases.
The opposite can take place during 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 may draw more cold air upward, increasing the amount of heating you need to keep warm.
If you’re still trying to figure out if you should switch to the fan/on setting, remember that every home and family’s comfort needs will vary. Leaving the HVAC system’s fan on might be best for you if:
Someone in your household has allergies. Allergies and other respiratory conditions can be hard on the family. Leaving the fan on is more likely to improve indoor air quality, helping your family breathe easier.
Your home experiences hot and cold spots. All kinds of homes deal with difficult hot and cold spots that quickly return to a temperature different from the rest of the house. The fan setting can help lessen these changes by consistently refreshing each room’s airflow.