Once the weather begins to cool off, you might be concerned about how you’ll prepare your heating and cooling. After all, HVAC bills routinely make up a big chunk of your monthly electric bill. To try and find ways to lower their HVAC bill, some homeowners look closer at their thermostat. Is there a setting they can use to increase efficiency?
Most thermostats include both a ‘Fan’ or ‘Fan On’ setting. But if the fan is going during a regular cycle, what can the fan setting offer for the HVAC system? This guide should help. We’ll share precisely what the fan setting is and when you can use it to cut costs over 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 keeps running. Some furnaces may continue to run at a low level in this setting, but for the most part heating or cooling isn’t being produced. The ‘Auto’ setting, in contrast, will run the fan over a heating or cooling cycle and switch it off when the cycle is finished.
There are pros and cons to trying the fan setting on your thermostat, and whether you do or don’t can depend on your personal comfort needs.
Advantages to using the Fan/On setting:
- You can keep the temperature in each room more balanced by enabling the fan to keep generating airflow.
- Indoor air quality can increase as steady airflow will keep moving airborne particles into the air filter.
- Fewer start-stop cycles for the HVAC fan helps expand its life span. Since the air handler is typically part of the furnace, this means you could prevent the need for furnace repair.
Downsides to switching to the Fan/On setting:
- A continuous fan will likely increase your energy bills by a small margin.
- Continuous airflow can clog your air filter up more quickly, increasing the frequency you should replace it.
Should My Thermostat Be on Fan or Auto in Summer/Winter
During the summer, warm air can linger in unfinished spaces such as the attic or an attached garage. If you use the fan setting, your HVAC system may gradually move this warm air into the rest of your home, pushing the HVAC system to run longer to preserve the set temperature. In serious heat, this can result in needing AC repair more regularly as wear and tear grows.
The opposite can happen 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 may pull more cold air upward, increasing the amount of heating you need to keep 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 will vary. Leaving the HVAC system’s fan on may be best 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 should help to improve indoor air quality, helping your family breathe easier.
Your home deals with hot and cold spots. Many homes deal with persistent hot and cold spots that quickly return to a temperature different from the rest of the house. The fan setting might help minimize these changes by steadily refreshing each room’s supply of air.