As the weather begins to cool off, you are probably concerned about how you’ll make the most of your heating and cooling. After all, HVAC bills frequently add up to a large piece of your monthly electric bill. To learn new ways to reduce costs, some homeowners look closely at their thermostat. Maybe there’s a setting they should use to improve efficiency?
Most thermostats come with a ‘Fan’ or ‘Fan On’ setting. But if the fan is on during a normal cycle, what will the fan setting offer for your HVAC system? This guide should help. We’ll share just what the fan setting is and how you can use it to reduce costs in 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 keeps running. Some furnaces will operate at a low level with this setting, but in general heating or cooling isn’t being produced. The ‘Auto’ setting, in contrast, will turn on the fan through a heating or cooling cycle and shut it off after the cycle is complete.
There are advantages and disadvantages to using the fan setting on your thermostat, and what's ideal can depend on your unique comfort preferences.
Advantages to trying the Fan/On setting:
- You can keep the temperature in each room more balanced by permitting the fan to keep running.
- Indoor air quality can increase since steady airflow will keep moving airborne contaminants into the air filter.
- Fewer start-stop cycles for the system's fan helps expand its life span. Since the air handler is usually a component of the furnace, this means you might prevent the need for furnace repair.
Disadvantages to utilizing the Fan/On setting:
- A nonstop fan can increase your energy costs slightly.
- Constant airflow may clog your air filter soon, increasing the frequency you’ll need to replace it.
Should My Thermostat Be on Fan or Auto in Summer/Winter
In the summer, warm air may stick around in unfinished spaces such as the attic or an attached garage. If you keep the fan running, your HVAC system may draw this warm air into the rest of your home, forcing the HVAC system to work more to maintain the set temperature. In severe heat, this can lead to needing AC repair more often as wear and tear increases.
The opposite can occur over the winter. Cooler spaces such as a basement will hold onto cooler air, which may eventually flow into the rest of your home. Keeping the fan on will sometimes draw more cold air upward, increasing the amount of heating you need to keep warm.
If you’re still trying to figure out if you should use the fan/on setting, keep in mind that every home and family’s comfort needs are different. Leaving the HVAC system’s fan on could work 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 is more likely to enhance indoor air quality, helping your family breathe easier.
Your home deals with hot and cold spots. All kinds of homes wrestle with stubborn hot and cold spots that quickly shift to a temperature different from the rest of the house. The fan setting can help minimize these changes by constantly refreshing each room’s airflow.