As the weather starts to cool off, you are probably concerned about how you’ll take full advantage of your heating and cooling. After all, HVAC costs frequently add up to a significant chunk of your monthly electric bill. To learn new ways to save, some owners take a closer look at their thermostat. Could there be a setting they can use to increase efficiency?
Most thermostats have a ‘Fan’ or ‘Fan On’ setting. But if the fan is running during a regular cycle, what will the fan setting provide for an HVAC system? This guide should help. We’ll share just what the fan setting is and whether you can use it to cut costs during the summer or winter.
What Is the Fan Setting on My Thermostat?
For the majority of thermostats, the fan setting signifies that the HVAC blower fan stays on. Some furnaces will generate heat at a low level with this setting, but in most cases heating or cooling isn’t being produced. The ‘Auto’ setting, on the other hand, will start the fan through a heating or cooling cycle and switch it off after the cycle is over.
There are pros and cons to switching on the fan setting on your thermostat, and whether you do or don’t will depend on your personal comfort requirements.
Advantages to utilizing the Fan/On setting:
- You can keep the temperature in every room more uniform by enabling the fan to keep generating airflow.
- Indoor air quality can increase because steady airflow will keep forcing airborne pollutants through the air filter.
- Fewer start-stop cycles for the system's fan helps lengthen its life span. Since the air handler is usually connected to the furnace, this means you can minimize the risk of needing furnace repair.
Disadvantages to utilizing the Fan/On setting:
- A nonstop fan will likely increase your energy costs somewhat.
- Constant airflow can 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
In the summer, warm air will sometimes stick around in unfinished spaces such as the attic or an attached garage. If you use the fan setting, your HVAC system can gradually move this warm air into the rest of your home, pushing the HVAC system to work more to preserve the desired temperature. In severe heat, this could lead to needing AC repair more often as wear and tear grows.
The opposite can take place over the winter. Cooler spaces like a basement will hold onto cooler air, which will eventually drift into the rest of your home. Leaving the fan running could draw more cold air upward, increasing the amount of heating you need to remain warm.
If you’re still trying to determine if you should try the fan/on setting, don’t forget that every home and family’s comfort needs are different. Leaving the HVAC system’s fan on could be ideal for you if:
Someone in your household suffers from allergies. Allergies and similar 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 has hot and cold spots. Lots of homes deal with difficult hot and cold spots that quickly return to a temperature different from the rest of the house. The fan setting should help limit these changes by steadily refreshing each room’s airflow.