As the weather is cooling off, you may be concerned about how you’ll take full advantage of your heating and cooling. After all, HVAC expenses can contribute a big portion of your monthly electric bill. To try and find ways to reduce costs, some owners take a closer look at their thermostat. Could there be a setting they can use to boost efficiency?
The majority of 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 an HVAC system? This guide can help. We’ll walk through precisely what the fan setting is and whether you can use it to save money during the summer or winter.
What Is the Fan Setting on My Thermostat?
For the majority of thermostats, the fan setting signifies that the system's blower fan keeps running. A few furnaces will operate at a low level in this setting, but in general heating or cooling isn’t being made. The ‘Auto’ setting, on the other hand, will start the fan during a heating or cooling cycle and shut it off when the cycle is complete.
There are benefits and drawbacks to using the fan setting on your thermostat, and what's ideal can depend on your distinct comfort requirements.
Advantages to using the Fan/On setting:
- You can keep the temperature in each room more balanced by permitting the fan to keep running.
- Indoor air quality will be highest since continuous airflow will keep forcing airborne contaminants into the air filter.
- A smaller number of start-stop cycles for the system's fan helps expand its life span. Because the air handler is typically part of the furnace, this means you might minimize the risk of needing furnace repair.
Drawbacks to utilizing the Fan/On setting:
- A continuous fan can increase your energy expenses slightly.
- Constant airflow can clog your air filter soon, increasing the frequency you should replace it.
Should My Thermostat Be on Fan or Auto in Summer/Winter
In the summer, warm air will sometimes linger in unfinished spaces such as the attic or an attached garage. If you leave the fan on, your HVAC system may pull this warm air into the rest of your home, forcing the HVAC system to work harder to keep up with the preferred temperature. In severe heat, this can result in needing AC repair more regularly as wear and tear increases.
The opposite can happen over the winter. Cooler spaces like a basement will hold onto cooler air, which can eventually drift into the rest of your home. Leaving the fan running could pump 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 will vary. 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 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 might help lessen these changes by consistently refreshing each room’s airflow.