Once the weather begins to cool off, you may be wondering about how you’ll take full advantage of your heating and cooling. After all, HVAC expenses frequently contribute a big portion of your monthly electric bill. To figure out new ways to save, some homeowners look closely at their thermostat. Could there be a setting they could use to boost efficiency?
The majority of thermostats come with a ‘Fan’ or ‘Fan On’ setting. But if the fan is on during a regular cycle, what will the fan setting offer for the HVAC system? This guide can help. We’ll review precisely what the fan setting is and when you can use it to reduce costs over the summer or winter.
What Is the Fan Setting on My Thermostat?
For most thermostats, the fan setting indicates that the air handler’s blower fan keeps running. Certain furnaces can run at a low level with this setting, but for the most part heating or cooling isn’t being produced. The ‘Auto’ setting, in contrast, will run the fan during a heating or cooling cycle and shut it off once the cycle is over.
There are advantages and disadvantages to switching on the fan setting on your thermostat, and what's ideal should depend on your distinct comfort preferences.
Advantages to utilizing the Fan/On setting:
- You can keep the temperature in each room more uniform by permitting the fan to keep generating airflow.
- Indoor air quality will be highest since continuous airflow will keep forcing airborne particles into the air filter.
- A smaller number of start-stop cycles for the system's fan helps lengthen its life span. As the air handler is usually a component of the furnace, this means you can minimize the risk of needing furnace repair.
Downsides to switching to the Fan/On setting:
- A continuous fan could increase your energy costs slightly.
- Continuous 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
Through the summer, warm air can persist in unfinished spaces including the attic or an attached garage. If you keep the fan running, your HVAC system can draw this warm air into the rest of your home, forcing the HVAC system to work more to keep up with the set temperature. In extreme heat, this may lead to needing AC repair more regularly as wear and tear grows.
The reverse can occur during the winter. Cooler spaces such as a basement will hold onto cooler air, which can eventually make its way 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 remain warm.
If you’re still trying to figure out if you should switch to the fan/on setting, remember that every home and family’s comfort needs are not the same. Leaving the HVAC system’s fan on could be best for you if:
Someone in your household suffers from allergies. Allergies and other respiratory conditions can be stressful on the family. Leaving the fan on can help to increase indoor air quality, helping your family breathe easier.
Your home deals with hot and cold spots. Many homes deal with persistent hot and cold spots that quickly shift to a temperature different from the rest of the house. The fan setting should help limit these changes by constantly refreshing each room’s airflow.