As the weather is cooling off, you might be thinking about how you’ll take full advantage of your heating and cooling. After all, HVAC costs frequently add up to a large piece of your monthly electric bill. To learn new ways to reduce costs, some owners look closer at their thermostat. Could there be a setting they could use to increase efficiency?

Most thermostats include both a ‘Fan’ or ‘Fan On’ setting. But if the fan is running during a normal cycle, what does the fan setting provide for the HVAC system? This guide should help. We’ll walk through precisely what the fan setting is and how you can use it to reduce costs over the summer or winter.

Should I Use My Thermostat's Fan Setting?

For the majority of thermostats, the fan setting signifies that the system's blower fan remains on. Certain furnaces can operate at a low level in this setting, but in general heating or cooling isn’t being generated. The ‘Auto’ setting, in contrast, will start the fan through a heating or cooling cycle and turn it off once the cycle is complete.

There are advantages and disadvantages to trying the fan setting on your thermostat, and the ideal option {will|can|should]] depend on your unique comfort needs.

Advantages to utilizing the Fan/On setting:

  • You can keep the temperature in every room more balanced by allowing the fan to keep generating airflow.
  • Indoor air quality will be highest as constant airflow will keep moving airborne pollutants through the air filter.
  • A smaller amount of start-stop cycles for the HVAC fan helps lengthen its life span. Because the air handler is typically a component of the furnace, this means you might prevent the need for furnace repair.

Drawbacks to utilizing the Fan/On setting:

  • A continuous fan will likely add to your energy expenses somewhat.
  • Continuous airflow can clog your air filter in a shorter amount of time, increasing the frequency you’ll need to replace it.

{Choosing Between|Should My Thermostat Be on|Which Setting for My Thermostat? Fan or Auto in Summer/Winter

During the summer, warm air may stick around in unfinished spaces such as the attic or an attached garage. If you leave the fan on, your HVAC system may gradually move this warm air into the rest of your home, pushing the HVAC system to work harder to keep up with the set temperature. In severe heat, this could result in needing AC repair more regularly as wear and tear increases.

The opposite can occur during the winter. Cooler spaces such as a basement will hold onto cooler air, which may eventually flow into the rest of your home. Leaving the fan setting on could draw more cold air upward, increasing the amount of heating you need to stay 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 could be best for you if:

Someone in your household suffers from allergies. Allergies and other respiratory conditions can be tough on the family. Leaving the fan on can help to improve indoor air quality, helping your family breathe easier.

Your home deals with hot and cold spots. Lots of homes wrestle with difficult hot and cold spots that quickly return to a temperature different from the rest of the house. The fan setting should help lessen these changes by consistently refreshing each room’s ventilation.