As the weather begins to cool off, you might be concerned about how you’ll take full advantage of your heating and cooling. After all, HVAC expenses frequently add up to a large piece of your monthly electric bill. To try and find ways to reduce costs, some owners look closely at their thermostat. Could there be a setting they can use to boost efficiency?
The majority of thermostats include both a ‘Fan’ or ‘Fan On’ setting. But if the fan is on during a typical cycle, what can the fan setting offer for an HVAC system? This guide can help. We’ll share precisely what the fan setting is and how you can use it to reduce costs during the summer or winter.
What Is the Fan Setting on My Thermostat?
For the bulk of thermostats, the fan setting signifies that the HVAC blower fan keeps running. A few furnaces will run at a low level in this setting, but for the most part heating or cooling isn’t being made. The ‘Auto’ setting, in contrast, will start the fan during a heating or cooling cycle and turn it off after the cycle is over.
There are benefits and drawbacks to trying the fan setting on your thermostat, and whether you do or don’t can depend on your distinct comfort requirements.
Advantages to trying the Fan/On setting:
- You can keep the temperature throughout your home more uniform by allowing the fan to keep running.
- Indoor air quality will be highest because steady airflow will keep forcing airborne pollutants into the air filter.
- A smaller amount of start-stop cycles for the HVAC fan helps lengthen its life span. As the air handler is usually a component of the furnace, this means you can minimize the risk of needing furnace repair.
Disadvantages to using the Fan/On setting:
- A constant fan can increase your energy expenses by a small margin.
- Continuous airflow can clog your air filter in a shorter amount of time, increasing the frequency you’ll need to replace it.
Should My Thermostat Be on Fan or Auto in Summer/Winter
During the summer, warm air will sometimes stick around in unfinished spaces like the attic or an attached garage. If you keep the fan running, your HVAC system may draw this warm air into the rest of your home, compelling the HVAC system to work harder to keep up with the preferred temperature. In serious heat, this can result in needing AC repair more often as wear and tear gets worse.
The opposite can happen during the winter. Cooler spaces such as a basement will hold onto cooler air, which can eventually flow into the rest of your home. Leaving the fan running may pull more cold air upward, increasing the amount of heating you need to keep warm.
If you’re still trying to determine if you should try the fan/on setting, remember that every home and family’s comfort needs will vary. Leaving the HVAC system’s fan on may be ideal for you if:
Someone in your household has allergies. Allergies and similar respiratory conditions can be tough on the family. Leaving the fan on should help 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 shift to a temperature different from the rest of the house. The fan setting might help minimize these changes by steadily refreshing each room’s ventilation.