Thursday, January 24, 2008


Why do thermostats in homes have a fan “on” setting? Does anyone use that setting? Mine always stays on “auto”.

The other night I briefly panicked when I noticed the air coming out of the register was cool. I thought the furnace was broken just as we were heading into a cold snap. Then I remembered that I came home from work that evening to find Hyper Drummer Boy standing on a chair looking at the thermostat. I asked him what he was doing. Of course, it was “nothing”. I quickly looked at the temperature setting and it was OK, so I removed HDB from the scene and didn’t give it another thought until the moment I discovered the cool air. Going back to the thermostat, sure enough, HDB had moved the fan setting from “auto” to “on”. This meant that the fan was running even when the furnace wasn’t producing any heat. I corrected the situation, but I realized then that I had never in my life used the fan “on” setting. So why have it? Is there some aspect of living comfort I’m missing by NOT using it?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Years ago, I lived in a quad level townhouse with the furnace on the lowest level. In the summer, I would have the fan running all the time to get the cooler air to circulate up to the top level.

In the winter, I had to adjust the registers to make sure the heat got to the top level. Top floor was wide open; the other levels adjusted between nearly closed on the bottom level to the fully open registers on the top level.

Warm air rises but cooler air does not and needs a boost.

This was before ceiling fans came back in vogue.

Nearly Normal