As the weather starts to cool off, you are probably thinking about how you’ll prepare your heating and cooling. After all, HVAC bills can make up a significant piece of your monthly electric bill. To figure out new ways to lower their HVAC bill, some owners take a closer look at their thermostat. Maybe there’s a setting they can use to improve efficiency?
The majority of thermostats come with a ‘Fan’ or ‘Fan On’ setting. But if the fan is running during a regular cycle, what does the fan setting provide for an HVAC system? This guide will help. We’ll review just what the fan setting is and whether you can use it to save money during the summer or winter.
What Is the Fan Setting on My Thermostat?
For most thermostats, the fan setting means that the system's blower fan keeps running. Certain furnaces will run at a low level with this setting, but in general heating or cooling isn’t being produced. The ‘Auto’ setting, conversely, will run the fan over a heating or cooling cycle and turn it off when the cycle is finished.
There are benefits and drawbacks to switching on the fan setting on your thermostat, and the ideal option will depend on your distinct comfort requirements.
Advantages to utilizing the Fan/On setting:
- You can keep the temperature in each room more balanced by allowing the fan to keep circulating air.
- Indoor air quality should improve because continuous airflow will keep forcing airborne contaminants into the air filter.
- A smaller amount of start-stop cycles for the blower fan helps extend its life span. Since the air handler is typically a component of the furnace, this means you might avoid needing furnace repair.
Drawbacks to switching to the Fan/On setting:
- A constant fan will likely raise your energy bills slightly.
- Constant airflow may clog your air filter soon, increasing the frequency you should replace it.
Should My Thermostat Be on Fan or Auto in Summer/Winter
In the summer, warm air may stick around in unfinished spaces such as the attic or an attached garage. If you use the fan setting, your HVAC system can pull this warm air into the rest of your home, compelling the HVAC system to work harder to maintain the preferred temperature. In serious heat, this could lead to needing AC repair more regularly as wear and tear increases.
The reverse can take place during the winter. Cooler spaces like a basement will hold onto cooler air, which will eventually flow into the rest of your home. Keeping the fan on could pull 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, keep in mind that every home and family’s comfort needs are different. Leaving the HVAC system’s fan on may be best for you if:
Someone in your household deals with allergies. Allergies and similar respiratory conditions can be tough on the family. Leaving the fan on should help to increase indoor air quality, helping your family breathe easier.
Your home has hot and cold spots. All kinds of homes deal with difficult 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 consistently refreshing each room’s supply of air.