When the weather begins to cool off, you might be thinking about how you’ll prepare your heating and cooling. After all, HVAC costs can contribute a significant portion of your monthly electric bill. To learn new ways to lower their HVAC bill, some people take a closer look at their thermostat. Is there a setting they could use to increase efficiency?
Most thermostats include both a ‘Fan’ or ‘Fan On’ setting. But if the fan is on during a typical cycle, what does the fan setting offer for an HVAC system? This guide should help. We’ll review just what 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 indicates that the air handler’s blower fan stays on. Certain furnaces will operate at a low level with this setting, but for the most part heating or cooling isn’t being produced. The ‘Auto’ setting, conversely, will start the fan through a heating or cooling cycle and turn it off when the cycle is over.
There are advantages and disadvantages to using the fan setting on your thermostat, and whether you do or don’t can depend on your personal comfort preferences.
Advantages to switching to the Fan/On setting:
- You can keep the temperature in every room more uniform by allowing the fan to keep running.
- Indoor air quality should improve as steady airflow will keep forcing airborne pollutants into the air filter.
- A smaller amount of start-stop cycles for the HVAC fan helps lengthen its life span. Because the air handler is usually part of the furnace, this means you might prevent the need for furnace repair.
Downsides to using the Fan/On setting:
- A constant fan can add to your energy costs by a small margin.
- Nonstop airflow can clog your air filter in a shorter amount of time, increasing the frequency you’ll need to replace it.
Should My Thermostat Be on Fan or Auto in Summer/Winter
During the summer, warm air can stick around in unfinished spaces including 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 desired temperature. In severe heat, this can result in needing AC repair more quickly as wear and tear increases.
The opposite can take place during the winter. Cooler spaces such as a basement will hold onto cooler air, which can eventually flow into the rest of your home. Keeping the fan on may pump more cold air upward, increasing the amount of heating you need to stay warm.
If you’re still trying to decide if you should use the fan/on setting, remember that every home and family’s comfort needs will vary. Leaving the HVAC system’s fan on might be best 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 enhance indoor air quality, helping your family breathe easier.
Your home deals with hot and cold spots. Lots of homes deal 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 steadily refreshing each room’s supply of air.