As the weather is cooling off, you might be wondering about how you’ll take full advantage of your heating and cooling. After all, HVAC bills routinely make up a large portion of your monthly electric bill. To learn new ways to save, some owners take a closer look at their thermostat. Maybe there’s a setting they can use to boost efficiency?
The bulk of thermostats come with a ‘Fan’ or ‘Fan On’ setting. But if the fan is going during a regular cycle, what can the fan setting provide for the HVAC system? This guide can help. We’ll share precisely what the fan setting is and when you can use it to reduce costs during the summer or winter.
What Is the Fan Setting on My Thermostat?
For most thermostats, the fan setting indicates that the air handler’s blower fan keeps running. Certain furnaces can run at a low level with this setting, but in most cases heating or cooling isn’t being generated. The ‘Auto’ setting, conversely, will run the fan over a heating or cooling cycle and switch it off after the cycle is over.
There are benefits and drawbacks to using the fan setting on your thermostat, and whether you do or don’t should depend on your unique comfort needs.
Advantages to using the Fan/On setting:
- You can keep the temperature throughout your home more consistent by allowing the fan to keep running.
- Indoor air quality will be highest as steady airflow will keep moving airborne pollutants into the air filter.
- Fewer start-stop cycles for the HVAC fan helps lengthen its life span. Since the air handler is typically part of the furnace, this means you can avoid needing furnace repair.
Downsides to utilizing the Fan/On setting:
- A continuous fan can raise your energy bills somewhat.
- Constant airflow may clog your air filter in a shorter amount of time, increasing the frequency you will want to replace it.
Should My Thermostat Be on Fan or Auto in Summer/Winter
During the summer, warm air can persist in unfinished spaces including the attic or an attached garage. If you use the fan setting, your HVAC system may draw this warm air into the rest of your home, compelling the HVAC system to run longer to maintain the set temperature. In serious heat, this may result in needing AC repair more often as wear and tear gets worse.
The opposite can happen over the winter. Cooler spaces such as a basement will hold onto cooler air, which can eventually drift into the rest of your home. Keeping the fan on will sometimes pull more cold air upward, increasing the amount of heating you need to stay warm.
If you’re still trying to decide if you should use the fan/on setting, remember that every home and family’s comfort needs will vary. Leaving the HVAC system’s fan on could be ideal for you if:
Someone in your household has allergies. Allergies and other respiratory conditions can be tough on the family. Leaving the fan on can help to improve indoor air quality, helping your family breathe easier.
Your home experiences hot and cold spots. Many homes wrestle with persistent hot and cold spots that quickly shift to a temperature different from the rest of the house. The fan setting should help limit these changes by consistently refreshing each room’s airflow.