All thermostats include controls for heating, cooling, and thermostat fan operation. Heating and cooling settings are self explanatory, but how you control the fan can make a difference in running costs and air quality. Fan controls usually offer “on, off and auto” options.
The “on” position means that the fan runs permanently, regardless of the heating and cooling settings.
- The main advantage of this is air constantly moves around the home, which leads to a more balanced ambient temperature. It also allows the air to circulate through the filtration system, helping maintain indoor air quality. Another advantage is reliability as the fan is less likely fail if left permanently running.
- The main disadvantage of a constantly operating fan is cost, as leaving it to run 24 hours a day will increase your energy bill. There is also the issue of filter replacement, which will increase in frequency if the system is permanently on.
The “off” position is self explanatory and can be used for those few months that our Arkansas climate permits it.
The “auto” position allows the furnace to dictate when it runs. During the heat cycle, it starts a short time after the burners ignite and runs for approximately one minute after they shut down. During the cooling cycle,
it operates while the air conditioning is active.
- The advantage here is energy savings, as no cost is incurred while the thermostat fan is stationary; and filters will not need replacing as frequently.
- The disadvantages of this option includes uneven temperature distribution, and increased fan wear. Indoor air quality may also suffer.
The options available to alleviate these issues include the fitting of a variable speed motor which runs constantly but uses far less energy; or a programmable thermostat that includes a “circulate” option which allows the fan to run for a given time balancing out room temperatures.
At Paschal Heat, Air & Geothermal, we have been serving the Springdale and North West Arkansas area since 1968. We have friendly, professional staff waiting to discuss all your heating and air needs, so please do not hesitate to contact us.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Springdale, Arkansas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about thermostat fans and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.
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