Once the weather begins to cool off, you are probably thinking about how you’ll prepare your heating and cooling. After all, HVAC costs frequently add up to a big chunk of your monthly electric bill. To figure out new ways to lower their HVAC bill, some homeowners look closer at their thermostat. Is there a setting they could use to boost efficiency?
The bulk of thermostats come with a ‘Fan’ or ‘Fan On’ setting. But if the fan is on during a typical cycle, what can the fan setting offer for an HVAC system? This guide will help. We’ll share what exactly the fan setting is and when you can use it to save money over the summer or winter.
What Is the Fan Setting on My Thermostat?
For the bulk of thermostats, the fan setting signifies that the HVAC blower fan keeps running. Certain furnaces can run at a low level with this setting, but in most cases heating or cooling isn’t being produced. The ‘Auto’ setting, in contrast, will start the fan through a heating or cooling cycle and turn it off once the cycle is complete.
There are pros and cons to switching on the fan setting on your thermostat, and the ideal option can depend on your distinct comfort preferences.
Advantages to switching to the Fan/On setting:
- You can keep the temperature in each room more balanced by allowing the fan to keep generating airflow.
- Indoor air quality will be highest since constant airflow will keep passing airborne contaminants through the air filter.
- A smaller amount of start-stop cycles for the HVAC fan helps extend its life span. Since the air handler is often a component of the furnace, this means you might avoid needing furnace repair.
Disadvantages to switching to the Fan/On setting:
- A continuous fan will likely raise your energy costs by a small margin.
- Constant airflow may 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
Through the summer, warm air can stick around in unfinished spaces such as the attic or an attached garage. If you leave the fan on, your HVAC system may draw this warm air into the rest of your home, compelling the HVAC system to work harder to maintain the set temperature. In serious heat, this can lead to needing AC repair more regularly as wear and tear increases.
The reverse can take place in 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 will sometimes draw 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, remember that every home and family’s comfort needs are not the same. Leaving the HVAC system’s fan on may work for you if:
Someone in your household deals with allergies. Allergies and similar respiratory conditions can be stressful on the family. Leaving the fan on can help to enhance indoor air quality, helping your family breathe easier.
Your home has hot and cold spots. Many homes deal with persistent hot and cold spots that quickly shift to a temperature different from the rest of the house. The fan setting might help lessen these changes by steadily refreshing each room’s supply of air.