When the weather starts to cool off, you might be concerned about how you’ll take full advantage of your heating and cooling. After all, HVAC bills routinely add up to a large piece of your monthly electric bill. To try and find ways to reduce costs, some people take a closer look at their thermostat. Is there a setting they could use to improve efficiency?
The majority of thermostats include both a ‘Fan’ or ‘Fan On’ setting. But if the fan is running during a typical cycle, what will the fan setting provide for your HVAC system? This guide should help. We’ll review precisely what the fan setting is and when you can use it to cut costs during the summer or winter.
What Is the Fan Setting on My Thermostat?
For the majority of thermostats, the fan setting indicates that the HVAC blower fan keeps running. A few furnaces can generate heat at a low level in this setting, but in most cases heating or cooling isn’t being generated. The ‘Auto’ setting, conversely, will turn on the fan over a heating or cooling cycle and turn it off when the cycle is finished.
There are pros and cons to using the fan setting on your thermostat, and the ideal option will depend on your unique comfort preferences.
Advantages to using the Fan/On setting:
- You can keep the temperature in every room more consistent by allowing the fan to keep circulating air.
- Indoor air quality should improve as steady airflow will keep passing airborne particles into the air filter.
- A smaller number of start-stop cycles for the HVAC fan helps lengthen its life span. Since the air handler is often part of the furnace, this means you could avoid needing furnace repair.
Drawbacks to utilizing the Fan/On setting:
- A constant fan will likely raise your energy bills somewhat.
- Nonstop airflow may clog your air filter up more quickly, increasing the frequency you will want to replace it.
Should My Thermostat Be on Fan or Auto in Summer/Winter
In the summer, warm air may linger in unfinished spaces like the attic or an attached garage. If you leave the fan on, your HVAC system can gradually move this warm air into the rest of your home, forcing the HVAC system to run longer to preserve the set temperature. In extreme heat, this could result in needing AC repair more quickly as wear and tear increases.
The reverse can take place during the winter. Cooler spaces like a basement will hold onto cooler air, which can eventually flow into the rest of your home. Leaving the fan setting on may draw more cold air upward, increasing the amount of heating you need to keep warm.
If you’re still trying to decide if you should use the fan/on setting, remember that every home and family’s comfort needs will vary. Leaving the HVAC system’s fan on may be ideal for you if:
Someone in your household deals with allergies. Allergies and other respiratory conditions can be hard on the family. Leaving the fan on is more likely to increase indoor air quality, helping your family breathe easier.
Your home experiences hot and cold spots. All kinds of homes deal with stubborn hot and cold spots that quickly shift to a temperature different from the rest of the house. The fan setting should help lessen these changes by steadily refreshing each room’s airflow.