As the weather starts to cool off, you are probably wondering about how you’ll prepare your heating and cooling. After all, HVAC costs can make up a significant chunk of your monthly electric bill. To try and find ways to lower their HVAC bill, some owners look closer at their thermostat. Could there be a setting they should use to improve efficiency?
The majority of thermostats come with a ‘Fan’ or ‘Fan On’ setting. But if the fan is on during a typical cycle, what can the fan setting provide for the HVAC system? This guide can help. We’ll review what exactly the fan setting is and when you can use it to reduce costs in the summer or winter.
What Is the Fan Setting on My Thermostat?
For most thermostats, the fan setting signifies that the air handler’s blower fan stays on. Some furnaces can operate at a low level in this setting, but in general heating or cooling isn’t being made. The ‘Auto’ setting, conversely, 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 using the fan setting on your thermostat, and whether you do or don’t can depend on your personal comfort requirements.
Advantages to using the Fan/On setting:
- You can keep the temperature in each room more uniform by enabling the fan to keep running.
- Indoor air quality can increase since steady airflow will keep passing airborne particles 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 typically part of the furnace, this means you could avoid needing furnace repair.
Drawbacks to utilizing the Fan/On setting:
- A continuous fan could raise your energy bills by a small margin.
- Constant airflow may 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
During the summer, warm air will sometimes linger in unfinished spaces like the attic or an attached garage. If you use the fan setting, your HVAC system may gradually move this warm air into the rest of your home, compelling the HVAC system to run longer to preserve the preferred temperature. In severe heat, this can result in needing AC repair more often as wear and tear increases.
The opposite can occur during 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 could pump 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 try the fan/on setting, remember 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 other respiratory conditions can be hard on the family. Leaving the fan on can help to increase indoor air quality, helping your family breathe easier.
Your home experiences hot and cold spots. All kinds of 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 lessen these changes by constantly refreshing each room’s airflow.