Once 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 costs frequently make up a big piece of your monthly electric bill. To learn new ways to lower their HVAC bill, some people look closer at their thermostat. Is there 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 on during a typical cycle, what does the fan setting offer for the 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 keeps running. Certain furnaces may continue to run at a low level in this setting, but in most cases heating or cooling isn’t being generated. The ‘Auto’ setting, in contrast, will start the fan during a heating or cooling cycle and turn it off once the cycle is complete.
There are pros and cons to using the fan setting on your thermostat, and the ideal option will depend on your unique comfort requirements.
Advantages to utilizing the Fan/On setting:
- You can keep the temperature in each room more consistent by permitting the fan to keep running.
- Indoor air quality will be highest as constant airflow will keep forcing airborne pollutants through the air filter.
- Fewer start-stop cycles for the HVAC fan helps lengthen its life span. Because the air handler is often part of the furnace, this means you might prevent the need for furnace repair.
Disadvantages to switching to the Fan/On setting:
- A nonstop fan can raise your energy bills slightly.
- Nonstop airflow may clog your air filter in a shorter amount of time, increasing the frequency you should replace it.
Should My Thermostat Be on Fan or Auto in Summer/Winter
Through the summer, warm air may stick around in unfinished spaces like the attic or an attached garage. If you keep the fan running, your HVAC system might gradually move this warm air into the rest of your home, forcing the HVAC system to run longer to maintain the set temperature. In extreme heat, this may lead to needing AC repair more regularly as wear and tear increases.
The opposite can occur in the winter. Cooler spaces like a basement will hold onto cooler air, which will eventually make its way into the rest of your home. Leaving the fan setting on may pump more cold air upward, increasing the amount of heating you need to stay warm.
If you’re still trying to determine 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 best for you if:
Someone in your household has allergies. Allergies and similar respiratory conditions can be stressful on the family. Leaving the fan on is more likely to enhance indoor air quality, helping your family breathe easier.
Your home has hot and cold spots. Lots of homes wrestle with persistent hot and cold spots that quickly evolve to a temperature different from the rest of the house. The fan setting can help lessen these changes by steadily refreshing each room’s ventilation.