When the weather begins to cool off, you may be wondering about how you’ll make the most of your heating and cooling. After all, HVAC bills routinely add up to a big piece of your monthly electric bill. To figure out new ways to lower their HVAC bill, some homeowners look closer at their thermostat. Could there be a setting they can use to boost efficiency?
The bulk of thermostats have a ‘Fan’ or ‘Fan On’ setting. But if the fan is going during a typical cycle, what does the fan setting provide for an HVAC system? This guide can help. We’ll walk through precisely what the fan setting is and how you can use it to cut costs in the summer or winter.
What Is the Fan Setting on My Thermostat?
For the majority of thermostats, the fan setting signifies that the HVAC blower fan remains on. A few furnaces will operate at a low level with this setting, but in most cases heating or cooling isn’t being made. The ‘Auto’ setting, conversely, will start the fan over a heating or cooling cycle and switch it off once the cycle is complete.
There are benefits and drawbacks to using the fan setting on your thermostat, and the ideal option can depend on your unique comfort needs.
Advantages to utilizing the Fan/On setting:
- You can keep the temperature throughout your home more balanced by enabling the fan to keep running.
- Indoor air quality will be highest because constant airflow will keep passing airborne contaminants into the air filter.
- Fewer start-stop cycles for the blower fan helps extend its life span. Since the air handler is typically part of the furnace, this means you might avoid needing furnace repair.
Downsides to using the Fan/On setting:
- A constant fan could add to your energy bills somewhat.
- Constant airflow may 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 leave the fan on, your HVAC system might pull this warm air into the rest of your home, compelling the HVAC system to work more to preserve the desired temperature. In serious heat, this can lead to needing AC repair more regularly as wear and tear increases.
The opposite can happen over the winter. Cooler spaces such as 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 draw more cold air upward, increasing the amount of heating you need to stay warm.
If you’re still trying to determine if you should use the fan/on setting, remember that every home and family’s comfort needs are not the same. Leaving the HVAC system’s fan on could be best for you if:
Someone in your household deals with allergies. Allergies and other respiratory conditions can be tough on the family. Leaving the fan on is more likely to improve indoor air quality, helping your family breathe easier.
Your home experiences hot and cold spots. Lots of homes deal with persistent hot and cold spots that quickly return to a temperature different from the rest of the house. The fan setting can help limit these changes by constantly refreshing each room’s airflow.