When the weather begins to cool off, you might be wondering about how you’ll make the most of your heating and cooling. After all, HVAC bills frequently make up a big piece of your monthly electric bill. To try and find ways to reduce costs, some people look closely at their thermostat. Could there be a setting they could use to increase efficiency?

The majority of thermostats have a ‘Fan’ or ‘Fan On’ setting. But if the fan is running during a typical cycle, what can the fan setting offer for the HVAC system? This guide should help. We’ll walk through just what the fan setting is and how you can use it to save money in the summer or winter.

My Thermostat Has a Fan Setting?

For the bulk of thermostats, the fan setting means that the HVAC blower fan stays on. A few furnaces may continue to operate at a low level in this setting, but for the most part heating or cooling isn’t being produced. The ‘Auto’ setting, on the other hand, will run the fan through a heating or cooling cycle and turn it off once the cycle is over.

There are advantages and disadvantages to using the fan setting on your thermostat, and the ideal option {will|can|should]] depend on your personal comfort requirements.

Advantages to using the Fan/On setting:

  • You can keep the temperature in each room more uniform by allowing the fan to keep running.
  • Indoor air quality should improve as continuous airflow will keep passing airborne pollutants through the air filter.
  • A smaller number of start-stop cycles for the HVAC fan helps lengthen its life span. Because the air handler is usually a component of the furnace, this means you can minimize the risk of needing furnace repair.

Downsides to using the Fan/On setting:

  • A continuous fan can raise your energy expenses slightly.
  • Nonstop airflow could clog your air filter up more quickly, increasing the frequency you will want to replace it.

{Choosing Between|Should My Thermostat Be on|Which Setting for My Thermostat? Fan or Auto in Summer/Winter

In the summer, warm air will sometimes stick around in unfinished spaces like the attic or an attached garage. If you use the fan setting, your HVAC system can pull this warm air into the rest of your home, pushing the HVAC system to work harder to keep up with the desired temperature. In severe heat, this can lead to needing AC repair more often as wear and tear grows.

The reverse can take place 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 will sometimes pull more cold air upward, increasing the amount of heating you need to keep warm.

If you’re still trying to decide if you should try 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 suffers from allergies. Allergies and other 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 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 limit these changes by steadily refreshing each room’s ventilation.