When the weather starts to cool off, you might be concerned about how you’ll prepare your heating and cooling. After all, HVAC bills can contribute a significant portion of your monthly electric bill. To figure out new ways to save, some homeowners look closer at their thermostat. Is there a setting they can use to boost efficiency?
The majority of thermostats include both a ‘Fan’ or ‘Fan On’ setting. But if the fan is running during a normal cycle, what can the fan setting provide for the HVAC system? This guide can help. We’ll walk through just what the fan setting is and when 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 means that the air handler’s blower fan keeps running. A few furnaces can generate heat at a low level in this setting, but in general heating or cooling isn’t being made. The ‘Auto’ setting, in contrast, will start the fan during a heating or cooling cycle and switch it off once the cycle is finished.
There are advantages and disadvantages to using the fan setting on your thermostat, and whether you do or don’t should depend on your personal comfort needs.
Advantages to trying the Fan/On setting:
- You can keep the temperature throughout your home more consistent by enabling the fan to keep circulating air.
- Indoor air quality can increase as steady airflow will keep passing airborne particles into the air filter.
- Fewer start-stop cycles for the HVAC fan helps expand its life span. Since the air handler is typically a component of the furnace, this means you might avoid needing furnace repair.
Drawbacks to utilizing the Fan/On setting:
- A nonstop fan will likely increase your energy bills somewhat.
- Continuous airflow can 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
Through the summer, warm air may stick around in unfinished spaces including the attic or an attached garage. If you use the fan setting, your HVAC system may pull this warm air into the rest of your home, compelling the HVAC system to work more to maintain the set temperature. In extreme heat, this can result in needing AC repair more regularly as wear and tear grows.
The reverse can happen during the winter. Cooler spaces such as a basement will hold onto cooler air, which may eventually make its way into the rest of your home. Keeping the fan on could draw 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 try 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 be ideal for you if:
Someone in your household has allergies. Allergies and other respiratory conditions can be hard on the family. Leaving the fan on should help to improve indoor air quality, helping your family breathe easier.
Your home has hot and cold spots. Many homes deal with stubborn 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 consistently refreshing each room’s airflow.