Once the weather begins to cool off, you might be wondering about how you’ll take full advantage of your heating and cooling. After all, HVAC bills can add up to a significant portion of your monthly electric bill. To learn new ways to reduce costs, some people look closely at their thermostat. Could there be a setting they can use to boost efficiency?
The bulk of thermostats include both a ‘Fan’ or ‘Fan On’ setting. But if the fan is running during a regular cycle, what can the fan setting provide for your HVAC system? This guide will help. We’ll walk through just what the fan setting is and whether 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 means that the HVAC blower fan stays on. Certain furnaces will generate heat at a low level in this setting, but in most cases heating or cooling isn’t being produced. The ‘Auto’ setting, conversely, will run the fan during a heating or cooling cycle and turn it off after the cycle is complete.
There are benefits and drawbacks to using the fan setting on your thermostat, and what's ideal will depend on your distinct comfort requirements.
Advantages to switching to the Fan/On setting:
- You can keep the temperature in each room more balanced by permitting the fan to keep running.
- Indoor air quality should improve since continuous airflow will keep moving airborne particles through the air filter.
- Fewer start-stop cycles for the blower fan helps expand its life span. As the air handler is typically part of the furnace, this means you could avoid needing furnace repair.
Disadvantages to using the Fan/On setting:
- A nonstop fan can raise your energy costs slightly.
- Continuous airflow could 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 can stick around in unfinished spaces like the attic or an attached garage. If you keep the fan running, your HVAC system may pull this warm air into the rest of your home, pushing the HVAC system to work more to maintain the set temperature. In serious heat, this could lead to needing AC repair more quickly as wear and tear gets worse.
The reverse can happen in the winter. Cooler spaces such as a basement will hold onto cooler air, which will eventually drift 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 figure out if you should use the fan/on setting, remember that every home and family’s comfort needs are not the same. Leaving the HVAC system’s fan on might be ideal for you if:
Someone in your household has allergies. Allergies and similar respiratory conditions can be hard on the family. Leaving the fan on is more likely to improve indoor air quality, helping your family breathe easier.
Your home deals with hot and cold spots. Many homes deal with difficult hot and cold spots that quickly shift to a temperature different from the rest of the house. The fan setting should help lessen these changes by steadily refreshing each room’s supply of air.