When the weather begins to cool off, you might be wondering about how you’ll take full advantage of your heating and cooling. After all, HVAC expenses frequently make up a big portion of your monthly electric bill. To figure out new ways to reduce costs, some owners look closely at their thermostat. Maybe there’s a setting they could use to increase efficiency?
The bulk 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 will help. We’ll walk through precisely what the fan setting is and whether you can use it to save money over 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 remains on. Certain furnaces will operate at a low level in this setting, but in most cases heating or cooling isn’t being produced. The ‘Auto’ setting, on the other hand, will start the fan over a heating or cooling cycle and turn it off after the cycle is over.
There are benefits and drawbacks to using the fan setting on your thermostat, and what's ideal should depend on your distinct comfort requirements.
Advantages to utilizing the Fan/On setting:
- You can keep the temperature in every room more uniform by permitting the fan to keep generating airflow.
- Indoor air quality should improve as steady airflow will keep passing airborne pollutants through the air filter.
- Fewer start-stop cycles for the system's fan helps extend its life span. Because the air handler is typically part of the furnace, this means you could minimize the risk of needing furnace repair.
Drawbacks to using the Fan/On setting:
- A continuous fan can add to your energy expenses slightly.
- Constant airflow may 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
During the summer, warm air can persist in unfinished spaces like the attic or an attached garage. If you leave the fan on, your HVAC system might draw this warm air into the rest of your home, forcing the HVAC system to run longer to preserve the desired temperature. In extreme heat, this could lead to needing AC repair more regularly as wear and tear gets worse.
The reverse can take place during the winter. Cooler spaces like a basement will hold onto cooler air, which may eventually flow into the rest of your home. Leaving the fan setting on could 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 switch to the fan/on setting, remember that every home and family’s comfort needs are different. Leaving the HVAC system’s fan on might work 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 improve 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 return to a temperature different from the rest of the house. The fan setting should help lessen these changes by steadily refreshing each room’s ventilation.