Once the weather starts to cool off, you might be concerned about how you’ll make the most of your heating and cooling. After all, HVAC bills can add up to a significant chunk of your monthly electric bill. To try and find ways to lower their HVAC bill, some people look closely at their thermostat. Is there a setting they could use to increase efficiency?
The bulk of thermostats include both a ‘Fan’ or ‘Fan On’ setting. But if the fan is going during a regular cycle, what does the fan setting offer for your HVAC system? This guide will help. We’ll share what exactly the fan setting is and whether you can use it to save money in 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. Certain furnaces can generate heat at a low level with this setting, but in general heating or cooling isn’t being produced. The ‘Auto’ setting, conversely, will turn on the fan through a heating or cooling cycle and turn it off when the cycle is complete.
There are advantages and disadvantages to switching on the fan setting on your thermostat, and what's ideal should depend on your unique comfort preferences.
Advantages to switching to the Fan/On setting:
- You can keep the temperature in each room more balanced by enabling the fan to keep circulating air.
- Indoor air quality should improve since steady airflow will keep forcing airborne particles into the air filter.
- Fewer start-stop cycles for the blower fan helps expand its life span. As the air handler is typically a component of the furnace, this means you can minimize the risk of needing furnace repair.
Downsides to using the Fan/On setting:
- A constant fan will likely add to your energy bills slightly.
- Nonstop airflow can clog your air filter up more quickly, 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 use the fan setting, your HVAC system might draw this warm air into the rest of your home, compelling the HVAC system to work harder to preserve the set temperature. In serious heat, this can lead to needing AC repair more often as wear and tear increases.
The reverse can take place in the winter. Cooler spaces like a basement will hold onto cooler air, which may eventually make its way 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 remain warm.
If you’re still trying to figure out if you should use the fan/on setting, don’t forget 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 similar respiratory conditions can be tough on the family. Leaving the fan on can help to increase indoor air quality, helping your family breathe easier.
Your home has hot and cold spots. All kinds of homes deal with stubborn hot and cold spots that quickly evolve to a temperature different from the rest of the house. The fan setting can help lessen these changes by steadily refreshing each room’s supply of air.