As the weather begins to cool off, you may be concerned about how you’ll make the most of your heating and cooling. After all, HVAC expenses routinely make up a large portion of your monthly electric bill. To try and find ways to save, some owners look closer at their thermostat. Could there be a setting they should use to increase efficiency?
Most thermostats come with a ‘Fan’ or ‘Fan On’ setting. But if the fan is going during a typical cycle, what can the fan setting provide for the HVAC system? This guide can help. We’ll share just what the fan setting is and how you can use it to save money in the summer or winter.
What Is the Fan Setting on My Thermostat?
For the bulk of thermostats, the fan setting indicates that the air handler’s blower fan stays on. A few furnaces may continue to generate heat at a low level with this setting, but in general heating or cooling isn’t being generated. The ‘Auto’ setting, in contrast, will turn on the fan over a heating or cooling cycle and turn it off once the cycle is complete.
There are benefits and drawbacks to switching on the fan setting on your thermostat, and the ideal option can depend on your personal comfort preferences.
Advantages to switching to the Fan/On setting:
- You can keep the temperature in each room more consistent by permitting the fan to keep running.
- Indoor air quality will be highest because steady airflow will keep passing airborne particles into the air filter.
- A smaller amount of start-stop cycles for the system's fan helps expand its life span. Because the air handler is usually connected to the furnace, this means you can prevent the need for furnace repair.
Drawbacks to switching to the Fan/On setting:
- A nonstop fan could increase your energy costs by a small margin.
- Nonstop airflow can 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 may stick around in unfinished spaces like the attic or an attached garage. If you leave the fan on, your HVAC system might gradually move this warm air into the rest of your home, pushing the HVAC system to work more to keep up with the desired temperature. In severe heat, this could lead to needing AC repair more often as wear and tear increases.
The opposite can take place during the winter. Cooler spaces like a basement will hold onto cooler air, which will eventually drift into the rest of your home. Leaving the fan running will sometimes pump more cold air upward, increasing the amount of heating you need to stay warm.
If you’re still trying to determine 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 ideal for you if:
Someone in your household suffers from allergies. Allergies and other respiratory conditions can be tough 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. Many homes deal with stubborn hot and cold spots that quickly evolve to a temperature different from the rest of the house. The fan setting might help lessen these changes by consistently refreshing each room’s ventilation.