As the weather is cooling off, you may be wondering about how you’ll make the most of your heating and cooling. After all, HVAC bills frequently make up a large portion of your monthly electric bill. To learn new ways to save, some homeowners look closer at their thermostat. Is there a setting they could use to increase efficiency?
The majority of thermostats have a ‘Fan’ or ‘Fan On’ setting. But if the fan is going during a normal cycle, what does the fan setting offer for an HVAC system? This guide can help. We’ll share what exactly the fan setting is and how you can use it to cut costs over the summer or winter.
What Is the Fan Setting on My Thermostat?
For most thermostats, the fan setting signifies that the system's blower fan keeps running. Some furnaces will run at a low level with this setting, but in most cases heating or cooling isn’t being generated. The ‘Auto’ setting, on the other hand, will run the fan over a heating or cooling cycle and switch it off after the cycle is finished.
There are benefits and drawbacks to trying the fan setting on your thermostat, and the ideal option will depend on your distinct comfort needs.
Advantages to trying the Fan/On setting:
- You can keep the temperature in each room more consistent by allowing the fan to keep generating airflow.
- Indoor air quality will be highest as steady airflow will keep forcing airborne contaminants into the air filter.
- Fewer start-stop cycles for the HVAC fan helps extend its life span. As the air handler is often connected to the furnace, this means you could prevent the need for furnace repair.
Disadvantages to utilizing the Fan/On setting:
- A constant fan will likely increase your energy expenses slightly.
- Nonstop airflow can 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 will sometimes persist in unfinished spaces including the attic or an attached garage. If you use the fan setting, your HVAC system may draw this warm air into the rest of your home, forcing the HVAC system to work more to keep up with the preferred temperature. In severe heat, this could result in needing AC repair more regularly as wear and tear gets worse.
The reverse can occur during the winter. Cooler spaces like a basement will hold onto cooler air, which can eventually drift into the rest of your home. Keeping the fan on could pull more cold air upward, increasing the amount of heating you need to stay 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 deals with allergies. Allergies and other respiratory conditions can be tough on the family. Leaving the fan on can help to improve indoor air quality, helping your family breathe easier.
Your home experiences hot and cold spots. All kinds of homes wrestle with stubborn hot and cold spots that quickly return to a temperature different from the rest of the house. The fan setting might help minimize these changes by steadily refreshing each room’s airflow.