For the majority of homeowners who utilize a standard thermostat, there are two settings related to the HVAC system fan: ON and AUTO. The latter is the more common use for most people, causing the fan to turn on when the furnace or air conditioner does the same and helping to assist with circulating warm or cool air – when the former ON setting is used, on the other hand, the fan runs all the time.
At My Buddy the Plumber, our heating and cooling professionals are happy to explain the ins and outs of HVAC fan usage to you during any of our air conditioning or furnace repair or installation services. Some homeowners actually find significant benefits in leaving their fan on constantly, particularly during cooler months when the furnace primarily runs – why is this? Let’s look at the potential pros and cons of this approach.
The primary benefit of running your HVAC fan consistently: Air circulation improvements. Running the fan more often means air in your home circulates faster, leading to everything from more even temperature distribution to faster heating or cooling. Those who use this format find fewer issues with temperature imbalances between floors, for instance.
In addition, this practice holds significant benefits for homes containing people with allergies, asthma or any other respiratory conditions. This is because more air circulation means a greater number of passes through your filtration system, leading to higher air quality in the process. These benefits can be found both during summer and winter, though temperature imbalance issues tend to be larger during winter and may benefit you more.
The central downside of running your fan continuously is the potential for a rising energy bill each month. Running the fan constantly uses a bit more energy, as you might expect, and this can increase your utility bill.
However, it’s important to note that this increase might not be as large as you thought or even present at all – especially if your furnace is on the newer end and uses a high-efficiency motor. In these homes, running the fan more often might actually decrease your costs due to evening out temperatures and forcing the furnace or AC unit to run less often. The US Department of Energy recently increased efficiency standards for motor requirements, meaning this should become more commonplace.
Some homeowners naturally worry about the risks of a breakdown if they run the fan all the time, but this will not be a concern for you if your HVAC system was properly installed and maintained. The only possible exception here is a very old fan system, which should generally be replaced in the near future anyways.
For more on the possibility of running your HVAC fan constantly, or to learn about any of our HVAC or plumbing services, speak to the staff at My Buddy the Plumber today.
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