Once the weather is cooling off, you are probably wondering about how you’ll make the most of your heating and cooling. After all, HVAC bills frequently add up to a big 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 improve efficiency?
Most thermostats have a ‘Fan’ or ‘Fan On’ setting. But if the fan is going during a regular cycle, what will the fan setting offer for the HVAC system? This guide should help. We’ll walk through 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 means that the HVAC blower fan remains on. Some furnaces can generate heat at a low level with this setting, but for the most part heating or cooling isn’t being made. The ‘Auto’ setting, in contrast, will run the fan over a heating or cooling cycle and turn it off once the cycle is over.
There are advantages and disadvantages to switching on the fan setting on your thermostat, and whether you do or don’t can depend on your personal comfort requirements.
Advantages to switching to the Fan/On setting:
- You can keep the temperature in each room more consistent by enabling the fan to keep generating airflow.
- Indoor air quality will be highest since constant airflow will keep forcing airborne particles into the air filter.
- A smaller amount of start-stop cycles for the blower fan helps expand its life span. Because the air handler is typically part of the furnace, this means you can minimize the risk of needing furnace repair.
Downsides to using the Fan/On setting:
- A constant fan could raise your energy costs by a small margin.
- Constant airflow may clog your air filter in a shorter amount of time, increasing the frequency you will want to replace it.
Should My Thermostat Be on Fan or Auto in Summer/Winter
During the summer, warm air will sometimes linger in unfinished spaces including the attic or an attached garage. If you keep the fan running, your HVAC system might draw this warm air into the rest of your home, pushing the HVAC system to work harder to preserve the set temperature. In severe heat, this may lead to needing AC repair more regularly as wear and tear increases.
The opposite can take place over the winter. Cooler spaces like a basement will hold onto cooler air, which will eventually flow into the rest of your home. Leaving the fan setting on could pump more cold air upward, increasing the amount of heating you need to remain warm.
If you’re still trying to decide 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 might work for you if:
Someone in your household deals with allergies. Allergies and similar respiratory conditions can be stressful on the family. Leaving the fan on should help to improve indoor air quality, helping your family breathe easier.
Your home deals with hot and cold spots. Lots of 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 minimize these changes by steadily refreshing each room’s airflow.