As the weather starts to cool off, you may be wondering about how you’ll take full advantage of your heating and cooling. After all, HVAC expenses routinely make up a big piece of your monthly electric bill. To try and find ways to lower their HVAC bill, some homeowners look closely at their thermostat. Could there be a setting they should use to boost efficiency?
The majority of thermostats have a ‘Fan’ or ‘Fan On’ setting. But if the fan is on during a regular cycle, what can the fan setting offer for the HVAC system? This guide will help. We’ll share what exactly the fan setting is and whether you can use it to cut costs in 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 stays on. Certain furnaces can generate heat at a low level in this setting, but in general heating or cooling isn’t being produced. The ‘Auto’ setting, on the other hand, will start the fan during a heating or cooling cycle and switch it off when the cycle is over.
There are benefits and drawbacks to trying the fan setting on your thermostat, and the ideal option will depend on your distinct comfort preferences.
Advantages to switching to the Fan/On setting:
- You can keep the temperature throughout your home more uniform by enabling the fan to keep circulating air.
- Indoor air quality should improve since continuous airflow will keep forcing airborne particles into the air filter.
- A smaller amount of start-stop cycles for the blower fan helps extend its life span. As the air handler is often a component of the furnace, this means you could prevent the need for furnace repair.
Downsides to using the Fan/On setting:
- A continuous fan will likely add to your energy costs somewhat.
- Nonstop airflow could clog your air filter up more quickly, increasing the frequency you should replace it.
Should My Thermostat Be on Fan or Auto in Summer/Winter
In the summer, warm air may persist in unfinished spaces like the attic or an attached garage. If you keep the fan running, your HVAC system may draw this warm air into the rest of your home, compelling the HVAC system to work harder to keep up with the desired temperature. In serious heat, this may lead to needing AC repair more regularly as wear and tear increases.
The reverse can happen in the winter. Cooler spaces such as a basement will hold onto cooler air, which can eventually flow into the rest of your home. Leaving the fan setting on could pull more cold air upward, increasing the amount of heating you need to stay warm.
If you’re still trying to decide if you should use the fan/on setting, keep in mind 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 deals with allergies. Allergies and other respiratory conditions can be hard on the family. Leaving the fan on can help to increase indoor air quality, helping your family breathe easier.
Your home experiences hot and cold spots. Many homes wrestle with difficult hot and cold spots that quickly return to a temperature different from the rest of the house. The fan setting can help minimize these changes by consistently refreshing each room’s ventilation.