As 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 costs routinely make up a significant portion of your monthly electric bill. To figure out new ways to reduce costs, some people look closer at their thermostat. Could there be a setting they could use to increase efficiency?
The majority of thermostats include both a ‘Fan’ or ‘Fan On’ setting. But if the fan is going during a typical cycle, what does the fan setting provide for the HVAC system? This guide will help. We’ll walk through what exactly the fan setting is and when you can use it to save money during the summer or winter.
What Is the Fan Setting on My Thermostat?
For the majority of thermostats, the fan setting means that the system's blower fan keeps running. A few furnaces can 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 turn on the fan over a heating or cooling cycle and shut it off once the cycle is complete.
There are pros and cons to trying the fan setting on your thermostat, and whether you do or don’t can depend on your distinct comfort needs.
Advantages to trying the Fan/On setting:
- You can keep the temperature in every room more uniform by allowing the fan to keep generating airflow.
- Indoor air quality can increase as continuous airflow will keep passing airborne particles through the air filter.
- A smaller number of start-stop cycles for the blower fan helps expand its life span. Since the air handler is often a component of the furnace, this means you might avoid needing furnace repair.
Downsides to switching to the Fan/On setting:
- A continuous fan could increase your energy expenses slightly.
- Continuous airflow may 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
In the summer, warm air will sometimes linger in unfinished spaces such as the attic or an attached garage. If you use the fan setting, your HVAC system might draw this warm air into the rest of your home, compelling the HVAC system to work more to maintain the set temperature. In extreme heat, this may lead to needing AC repair more regularly as wear and tear increases.
The reverse can occur in the winter. Cooler spaces such as a basement will hold onto cooler air, which may eventually flow 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 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 may 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 enhance indoor air quality, helping your family breathe easier.
Your home experiences hot and cold spots. Many homes wrestle with persistent 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 ventilation.