As the weather starts to cool off, you might be concerned about how you’ll prepare your heating and cooling. After all, HVAC costs frequently make up a big portion of your monthly electric bill. To figure out new ways to save, some people look closely at their thermostat. Could there be a setting they can use to increase efficiency?
The bulk of thermostats include both a ‘Fan’ or ‘Fan On’ setting. But if the fan is on during a regular cycle, what does the fan setting provide for the HVAC system? This guide can help. We’ll review what exactly the fan setting is and how you can use it to cut 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 keeps running. A few furnaces can operate at a low level with this setting, but in most cases heating or cooling isn’t being made. The ‘Auto’ setting, in contrast, will start the fan over a heating or cooling cycle and turn it off once the cycle is finished.
There are advantages and disadvantages to using the fan setting on your thermostat, and the ideal option can depend on your unique comfort requirements.
Advantages to utilizing the Fan/On setting:
- You can keep the temperature in each room more uniform by permitting the fan to keep circulating air.
- Indoor air quality will be highest as constant airflow will keep moving airborne particles through the air filter.
- Fewer start-stop cycles for the system's fan helps extend 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 utilizing the Fan/On setting:
- A nonstop fan could add to your energy expenses 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 can linger in unfinished spaces such as 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, pushing the HVAC system to work harder to maintain the preferred temperature. In serious heat, this can result in needing AC repair more quickly as wear and tear grows.
The opposite can occur over the winter. Cooler spaces like a basement will hold onto cooler air, which can eventually drift into the rest of your home. Keeping the fan on may pull more cold air upward, increasing the amount of heating you need to keep warm.
If you’re still trying to decide if you should try the fan/on setting, don’t forget 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 tough 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. Many homes wrestle with difficult hot and cold spots that quickly evolve to a temperature different from the rest of the house. The fan setting can help lessen these changes by consistently refreshing each room’s ventilation.