As the weather is cooling off, you may be wondering about how you’ll prepare your heating and cooling. After all, HVAC expenses routinely contribute a significant portion of your monthly electric bill. To try and find ways to save, some people take a closer look at their thermostat. Could there be a setting they should use to improve efficiency?

The bulk of thermostats come with a ‘Fan’ or ‘Fan On’ setting. But if the fan is going during a regular cycle, what does the fan setting provide for the HVAC system? This guide will help. We’ll walk through just what the fan setting is and how you can use it to save money over the summer or winter.

How Do I Access the Fan Setting on My Thermostat?

For the bulk of thermostats, the fan setting indicates that the HVAC blower fan remains on. Certain furnaces will generate heat at a low level in this setting, but in general heating or cooling isn’t being produced. The ‘Auto’ setting, on the other hand, will turn on the fan during a heating or cooling cycle and switch it off once the cycle is complete.

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

Advantages to switching to the Fan/On setting:

  • You can keep the temperature in every room more consistent by allowing the fan to keep generating airflow.
  • Indoor air quality should improve as constant airflow will keep moving airborne contaminants through the air filter.
  • A smaller number of start-stop cycles for the blower fan helps expand its life span. Because the air handler is usually 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 could increase your energy costs slightly.
  • Nonstop airflow could clog your air filter in a shorter amount of time, increasing the frequency you will want to replace it.

{Choosing Between|Should My Thermostat Be on|Which Setting for My Thermostat? Fan or Auto in Each Season

In the summer, warm air may linger in unfinished spaces such as the attic or an attached garage. If you keep the fan running, your HVAC system may draw this warm air into the rest of your home, compelling the HVAC system to run longer to preserve the desired temperature. In extreme heat, this could result in needing AC repair more regularly as wear and tear increases.

The reverse can take place during the winter. Cooler spaces like a basement will hold onto cooler air, which will eventually make its way into the rest of your home. Leaving the fan setting on may pump more cold air upward, increasing the amount of heating you need to keep warm.

If you’re still trying to decide if you should try the fan/on setting, keep in mind that every home and family’s comfort needs are not the same. Leaving the HVAC system’s fan on might be ideal for you if:

Someone in your household deals with allergies. Allergies and similar respiratory conditions can be stressful on the family. Leaving the fan on should help to increase indoor air quality, helping your family breathe easier.

Your home has hot and cold spots. All kinds of homes deal with difficult hot and cold spots that quickly evolve to a temperature different from the rest of the house. The fan setting can help minimize these changes by consistently refreshing each room’s airflow.