Your central air conditioning system has two primary functions: to produce cool air, and to circulate that air throughout your home. For the second task, the unit has a fan that pushes treated air through your vents. Most central air conditioning systems have two fan settings, which force you to make tradeoffs between comfort and efficiency. However, you can get the best of both worlds by purchasing an AC unit with a variable-speed blower. Read on to learn more about how these adjustable fans work.
The Binary Nature of Some Air Handlers: Just ON or OFF
Standard central air conditioning systems give you the option of setting the fan to “on” or “auto.” When the fan is turned “on,” it blows air constantly through the home whether the unit is actively cooling air or not. That helps keep the air constantly fresh and filtered, giving a boost to your indoor air quality, but it also runs up your electricity bill. The “auto” setting, on the other hand, only runs the fan when the cooling cycle is active. This saves you energy but allows your air to grow more stagnant.
Variable Speed Air Handlers Give You More Control
The variable-speed blower gives you access to fan speeds in between the all-or-nothing nature of traditional central air conditioning systems. The variable speed air handler, or fan, can automatically ramp up its power or tamp it down, depending on the conditions inside the home. This allows the machine to take advantage of the pros of both fan settings while mitigating the cons and providing you with some other benefits as well.
Variable Speed Air Handlers Offer Several Benefits
For one thing, variable speed fans allow you to combine high indoor air quality with energy efficiency. When the AC isn't actively cooling, the fan slows down, saving electricity. But rather than shutting off altogether, the fan keeps blowing so the air is still being circulated and filtered at all times. This can be a lifesaver for people who suffer from allergies or other respiratory ailments.
The constant fan action also helps keep the air temperature consistent throughout the home, so certain areas don't end up hotter or cooler than others. Furthermore, the noise level is lower than leaving the fan on full blast all the time, so your home ambiance will be a little more amenable for relaxation.
Energy Efficiency & Cost Savings
One great thing about variable speed blowers is how they offer efficiency and cost savings to homeowners. By reducing their speed based on heating or cooling demands, they require less electricity than single speed motors.
More Even Temperature Throughout the Home
Do you notice that the living room is consistently warmer and the bedroom is usually cooler? With a single speed blower, hot and cold spots are much more likely to form in the home because airflow stops when a cycle ends. a variable speed air handler, the system can run on a lower setting for longer so that air is flowing around more regularly, which can eliminate uneven temperatures in different areas.
Less Noise from the Fan
Because they can run on lower settings, variable speed handlers aren't as loud. You can expect quieter operation whenever the system is just maintaining the temperature (or the adjustment desired is within a few degrees).
Longer Lifespan (Less Maintenance)
One benefit of variable speed blowers that's easy to overlook is how they often require less maintenance than other systems. When equipment can run on a lower capacity, there is less strain on the components.
More Precise Temperature Control All Day Long
This has been alluded to already, but it's worth reiterating that your home's temperature will fluctuate significantly less with a fan running on low for longer intervals compared with a system that waits to run until the temperature has dropped a few degrees before powering on.
Slightly Improved Indoor Air Quality
A single speed system provides less air circulation because it runs less often. With a variable speed blower, the blower is operating for longer periods (at lower settings). This increase in air circulation can help your filters to capture more dust and pollutants.
Find the Variable Speed Blower That's Right for You
Central air conditioning systems with variable speed blowers do cost a bit more to purchase and install, but many people find the benefits, including lower energy bills, are worth it in the long term. If you have any other questions about variable speed blowers, or need help purchasing and installing one, contact your local HVAC service provider today. Our team of HVAC experts can provide tailored advice to help you with the selection process!