As the weather begins to cool off, you may be thinking about how you’ll take full advantage of your heating and cooling. After all, HVAC bills frequently contribute a big piece of your monthly electric bill. To learn new ways to lower their HVAC bill, some homeowners look closely at their thermostat. Is there a setting they could use to improve efficiency?
The majority of thermostats include both a ‘Fan’ or ‘Fan On’ setting. But if the fan is on during a normal cycle, what will the fan setting provide for your HVAC system? This guide should help. We’ll review what exactly the fan setting is and whether you can use it to cut costs in the summer or winter.
What Is the Fan Setting on My Thermostat?
For the majority of thermostats, the fan setting signifies that the air handler’s blower fan remains on. Some furnaces will operate at a low level in this setting, but for the most part heating or cooling isn’t being produced. The ‘Auto’ setting, conversely, will start the fan through a heating or cooling cycle and switch it off after the cycle is finished.
There are pros and cons to using the fan setting on your thermostat, and whether you do or don’t should depend on your distinct comfort preferences.
Advantages to utilizing the Fan/On setting:
- You can keep the temperature throughout your home more balanced by allowing the fan to keep circulating air.
- Indoor air quality should improve as continuous airflow will keep moving airborne particles through the air filter.
- Fewer start-stop cycles for the blower fan helps extend its life span. As the air handler is often connected to the furnace, this means you might avoid needing furnace repair.
Downsides to using the Fan/On setting:
- A constant fan can add to your energy expenses by a small margin.
- Continuous 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
In the summer, warm air will sometimes persist in unfinished spaces such as the attic or an attached garage. If you keep the fan running, your HVAC system can draw this warm air into the rest of your home, forcing the HVAC system to run longer to keep up with the desired temperature. In severe heat, this may lead to needing AC repair more often as wear and tear grows.
The reverse 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. Leaving the fan setting 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 switch to 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 deals with allergies. Allergies and other respiratory conditions can be tough on the family. Leaving the fan on can help to increase indoor air quality, helping your family breathe easier.
Your home deals with hot and cold spots. Lots of homes deal with difficult 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.