As the weather is cooling off, you may be thinking about how you’ll make the most of your heating and cooling. After all, HVAC costs routinely make up a large portion of your monthly electric bill. To figure out new ways to save, some homeowners look closer at their thermostat. Could there be a setting they can use to improve efficiency?
The majority of thermostats come with a ‘Fan’ or ‘Fan On’ setting. But if the fan is running during a regular cycle, what will the fan setting provide for the HVAC system? This guide should help. We’ll walk through precisely what the fan setting is and when you can use it to save money 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. A few furnaces can operate at a low level in this setting, but in most cases heating or cooling isn’t being made. The ‘Auto’ setting, on the other hand, will start the fan through a heating or cooling cycle and shut it off when the cycle is over.
There are advantages and disadvantages to using the fan setting on your thermostat, and the ideal option 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 enabling the fan to keep circulating air.
- Indoor air quality can increase because constant airflow will keep forcing airborne particles into the air filter.
- Fewer start-stop cycles for the blower fan helps expand its life span. As the air handler is typically connected to the furnace, this means you can prevent the need for furnace repair.
Downsides to using the Fan/On setting:
- A nonstop fan can increase your energy bills slightly.
- Constant airflow could clog your air filter up more quickly, increasing the frequency you should replace it.
Should My Thermostat Be on Fan or Auto in Summer/Winter
During the summer, warm air can persist 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, compelling the HVAC system to run longer to preserve the desired temperature. In serious heat, this may result in needing AC repair more regularly 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 will eventually make its way 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 remain warm.
If you’re still trying to decide 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 work 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 can help to increase indoor air quality, helping your family breathe easier.
Your home experiences hot and cold spots. Many homes deal with persistent hot and cold spots that quickly evolve to a temperature different from the rest of the house. The fan setting might help minimize these changes by steadily refreshing each room’s supply of air.