When the weather starts to cool off, you may be concerned about how you’ll make the most of your heating and cooling. After all, HVAC expenses frequently make up a significant piece of your monthly electric bill. To figure out new ways to lower their HVAC bill, some homeowners take a closer look at their thermostat. Maybe there’s a setting they could use to increase efficiency?

Most thermostats have a ‘Fan’ or ‘Fan On’ setting. But if the fan is going during a typical cycle, what will the fan setting offer for the HVAC system? This guide can help. We’ll share just what the fan setting is and when you can use it to save money during the summer or winter.

How Do I Access the Fan Setting on My Thermostat?

For the bulk of thermostats, the fan setting signifies that the HVAC blower fan keeps running. Some furnaces can run at a low level with this setting, but for the most part heating or cooling isn’t being generated. The ‘Auto’ setting, in contrast, will start the fan over a heating or cooling cycle and switch it off when the cycle is over.

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

Advantages to trying the Fan/On setting:

  • You can keep the temperature in every room more consistent by permitting the fan to keep circulating air.
  • Indoor air quality can increase as constant airflow will keep passing airborne particles into the air filter.
  • Fewer start-stop cycles for the HVAC fan helps expand its life span. Since 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 can add to your energy bills slightly.
  • Nonstop airflow can clog your air filter up more quickly, 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 will sometimes linger in unfinished spaces including the attic or an attached garage. If you use the fan setting, your HVAC system can gradually move this warm air into the rest of your home, pushing the HVAC system to work more to preserve the desired temperature. In severe heat, this can result in needing AC repair more often as wear and tear gets worse.

The opposite can happen in the winter. Cooler spaces such as a basement will hold onto cooler air, which can eventually drift 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 stay warm.

If you’re still trying to determine if you should use the fan/on setting, keep in mind that every home and family’s comfort needs will vary. Leaving the HVAC system’s fan on may work for you if:

Someone in your household deals with allergies. Allergies and similar 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 evolve 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.