Once the weather begins to cool off, you are probably thinking about how you’ll make the most of your heating and cooling. After all, HVAC costs can make up a significant piece of your monthly electric bill. To learn new ways to save, some owners look closer at their thermostat. Is there a setting they should use to improve efficiency?
The bulk of thermostats have a ‘Fan’ or ‘Fan On’ setting. But if the fan is on during a regular cycle, what will the fan setting offer for your HVAC system? This guide will help. We’ll review what exactly the fan setting is and how you can use it to cut costs during the summer or winter.
What Is the Fan Setting on My Thermostat?
For most thermostats, the fan setting indicates that the HVAC blower fan stays on. A few furnaces can run 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 through a heating or cooling cycle and switch it off after the cycle is over.
There are pros and cons to using the fan setting on your thermostat, and whether you do or don’t will depend on your unique comfort needs.
Advantages to switching to the Fan/On setting:
- You can keep the temperature throughout your home more balanced by permitting the fan to keep circulating air.
- Indoor air quality should improve since steady airflow will keep forcing airborne contaminants through the air filter.
- Fewer start-stop cycles for the HVAC fan helps extend its life span. Since the air handler is usually a component of the furnace, this means you might avoid needing furnace repair.
Disadvantages to utilizing the Fan/On setting:
- A nonstop fan will likely add to your energy costs slightly.
- Continuous airflow can clog your air filter in a shorter amount of time, increasing the frequency you’ll need to replace it.
Should My Thermostat Be on Fan or Auto in Summer/Winter
During the summer, warm air will sometimes linger in unfinished spaces such as the attic or an attached garage. If you keep the fan running, your HVAC system can pull this warm air into the rest of your home, pushing the HVAC system to work more to preserve the set temperature. In severe heat, this may result in needing AC repair more often as wear and tear grows.
The reverse can occur during the winter. Cooler spaces such as a basement will hold onto cooler air, which can eventually make its way into the rest of your home. Leaving the fan setting on may pull more cold air upward, increasing the amount of heating you need to remain warm.
If you’re still trying to determine if you should switch to the fan/on setting, don’t forget that every home and family’s comfort needs are not the same. Leaving the HVAC system’s fan on could be best for you if:
Someone in your household has 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 experiences hot and cold spots. Many homes deal with difficult hot and cold spots that quickly return to a temperature different from the rest of the house. The fan setting might help lessen these changes by constantly refreshing each room’s airflow.