When the weather begins to cool off, you are probably concerned about how you’ll make the most of your heating and cooling. After all, HVAC expenses routinely add up to a large chunk of your monthly electric bill. To figure out new ways to save, some people take a closer look at their thermostat. Maybe there’s a setting they could use to boost efficiency?
Most thermostats include both a ‘Fan’ or ‘Fan On’ setting. But if the fan is going during a normal cycle, what can the fan setting provide for an HVAC system? This guide can help. We’ll review just what the fan setting is and when you can use it to reduce costs in the summer or winter.
What Is the Fan Setting on My Thermostat?
For the bulk of thermostats, the fan setting indicates that the air handler’s blower fan remains on. Certain furnaces can run at a low level in this setting, but in general heating or cooling isn’t being produced. The ‘Auto’ setting, on the other hand, will start the fan over a heating or cooling cycle and switch it off after the cycle is finished.
There are benefits and drawbacks to using the fan setting on your thermostat, and the ideal option can depend on your distinct comfort preferences.
Advantages to trying the Fan/On setting:
- You can keep the temperature throughout your home more balanced by enabling the fan to keep generating airflow.
- Indoor air quality should improve as continuous airflow will keep passing airborne contaminants into the air filter.
- Fewer start-stop cycles for the HVAC fan helps lengthen its life span. As the air handler is usually connected to the furnace, this means you could prevent the need for furnace repair.
Drawbacks to switching to the Fan/On setting:
- A continuous fan can increase your energy costs somewhat.
- Continuous airflow could 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 stick around in unfinished spaces like the attic or an attached garage. If you leave the fan on, your HVAC system may draw this warm air into the rest of your home, forcing the HVAC system to work more to keep up with the set temperature. In severe heat, this could result in needing AC repair more regularly as wear and tear increases.
The reverse can happen during the winter. Cooler spaces like a basement will hold onto cooler air, which will eventually drift into the rest of your home. Leaving the fan setting on will sometimes pump more cold air upward, increasing the amount of heating you need to remain warm.
If you’re still trying to decide if you should use the fan/on setting, don’t forget that every home and family’s comfort needs are different. Leaving the HVAC system’s fan on might work for you if:
Someone in your household has allergies. Allergies and similar respiratory conditions can be hard on the family. Leaving the fan on can help to increase indoor air quality, helping your family breathe easier.
Your home experiences hot and cold spots. Lots of homes deal with stubborn hot and cold spots that quickly shift to a temperature different from the rest of the house. The fan setting might help minimize these changes by constantly refreshing each room’s airflow.