They say if you don’t like the weather in Colorado, just wait five minutes. And while the hot, sunny days and cool, breezy nights are one of the best reasons to live in the Rocky Mountain region, our large temperature swings can add stress to our heating and cooling systems.

As we look for ways to increase HVAC efficiency during shifting weather patterns, there is one industry secret that most people overlook – the fan. The fan setting on your thermostat controls your HVAC’s system blower. When placed on auto, the blower circulates hot or cold air throughout your home until the temperature on the thermostat is reached. As temperatures swing dramatically throughout the day, the HVAC system cycles on and off. Similar to your automobile, running your HVAC fan continuously vs “stop and go” keeps your energy use at a steady state, avoiding spikes each time the system fires up.

While it seems contrary to common sense, leaving your fan in the “ON” position is often the most efficient and cost effective. Energy companies calculate your cost based on kilowatts/hour, and these kilowatts spike each time your HVAC motor turns on. With your system in a steady state, kilowatts/hour also stay steady, often resulting in a lower utility bill.

Other advantages to the fan “ON” setting:

  • When you allow the fan to run uninterrupted, air circulates through your home or office more evenly, reducing hot and cold spots.
  • Less frequent stops and starts also reduce the stress on your HVAC system, extending its lifespan and saving you more money long-term.
  • As air circulates throughout your home or office, it is pulled through filtration systems, resulting in cleaner, more allergy-free air.

Additional considerations:

  • Some HVAC systems have blower motors that are designed to run in the ON mode, while others are not rated for continuous use. Contact Front Range HVAC for an assessment of your current HVAC system. We can answer many questions over the phone or through a virtual appointment.
  • You’ll need to replace your furnace filter more often as it ‘scrubs’ the air more frequently. Check your filter every 30 days. If you cannot see through it, then it is time for a replacement. (Want more air filtration tips? Find out how staying home more often is affecting our indoor air quality.)
  • A whole house fan can substitute for an air conditioner much of the year in the cool Colorado climate. Whole house fans combined with ceiling fans and other circulating fans provide acceptable summer comfort for many families, even in hot weather.

So, while we as Coloradans enjoy 89 degrees one day and 62 degrees the next, staying consistently comfortable indoors can be more efficient than we think by keeping our fan ON – even five minutes from now.