As the weather is cooling off, you might be concerned about how you’ll take full advantage of your heating and cooling. After all, HVAC bills frequently contribute a large portion of your monthly electric bill. To try and find ways to save, some homeowners look closely at their thermostat. Could there be a setting they can use to boost efficiency?
Most thermostats come with a ‘Fan’ or ‘Fan On’ setting. But if the fan is going during a normal cycle, what can the fan setting offer for the HVAC system? This guide should help. We’ll share just what the fan setting is and how you can use it to save money during the summer or winter.
What Is the Fan Setting on My Thermostat?
For the bulk of thermostats, the fan setting signifies that the air handler’s blower fan remains on. Certain furnaces can operate at a low level with this setting, but for the most part heating or cooling isn’t being produced. The ‘Auto’ setting, on the other hand, will turn on the fan during a heating or cooling cycle and shut it off when the cycle is finished.
There are pros and cons to using the fan setting on your thermostat, and whether you do or don’t should depend on your distinct comfort requirements.
Advantages to switching to the Fan/On setting:
- You can keep the temperature throughout your home more uniform by enabling the fan to keep running.
- Indoor air quality can increase because continuous airflow will keep moving airborne pollutants through the air filter.
- A smaller amount of start-stop cycles for the HVAC fan helps expand its life span. As the air handler is typically connected to the furnace, this means you could avoid needing furnace repair.
Drawbacks to utilizing the Fan/On setting:
- A constant fan can raise your energy bills slightly.
- Continuous airflow can clog your air filter soon, increasing the frequency you’ll need to replace it.
Should My Thermostat Be on Fan or Auto in Summer/Winter
Through the summer, warm air can stick around in unfinished spaces such as the attic or an attached garage. If you keep the fan running, your HVAC system can draw this warm air into the rest of your home, pushing the HVAC system to run longer to keep up with the set temperature. In serious heat, this can result in needing AC repair more quickly as wear and tear gets worse.
The reverse can take place over the winter. Cooler spaces such as a basement will hold onto cooler air, which will eventually flow into the rest of your home. Leaving the fan running will sometimes pull more cold air upward, increasing the amount of heating you need to stay warm.
If you’re still trying to figure out if you should try the fan/on setting, keep in mind that every home and family’s comfort needs are different. Leaving the HVAC system’s fan on could be ideal 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 can help to enhance indoor air quality, helping your family breathe easier.
Your home deals with 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 should help lessen these changes by steadily refreshing each room’s airflow.