Whether air is heated by your furnace, or cooled by your air conditioner, in most systems it passes through the furnace to cycle through the blower. The blower is the component that forces warm or cool air into your ducts, giving it the power to circulate throughout your house.
Because it’s used year-round, the efficiency of the blower motor is important. With new technology, such as a variable speed blower motor, efficiency can be dramatically improved.
Conventional blower motors only operate at one speed. This speed is set by your contractor when the system is installed, and once it’s set, it typically can’t be changed. Variable speed blower motors can operate at a range of different speeds, meaning the system doesn’t always have to cycle on at 100 percent. Instead, it can assess your needs in the moment and use only enough energy to meet them.
Just as driving your car more slowly improves fuel use, and dimming the lights saves electricity, running the blower at less than 100 percent saves energy. Variable speed blower motors have many advantages:
- They use up to 60 percent less electricity than standard motors.
- They can build slowly to the appropriate speed in a “soft” start, instead of kicking on at full speed. They can come down in a “soft” stop, too.
- Fewer sudden blasts of air and noise result from a system that runs more slowly.
- Enhanced indoor air quality can result if you set the fan to run at a slow, continuous speed. This keeps indoor air circulating, and allows particles more opportunity to become trapped by filters for two reasons: the air moves through the filter more frequently and also more slowly.
- Variable speed blower motors typically have longer life spans than standard systems.
Variable speed motors are especially effective if they’re combined with zoning systems. If the temperature in a specific zone of your home needs adjusting, the motor will only provide as much of an adjustment as necessary, and the zoning control will direct the air right where it’s needed.
If you’re interested in the savings and comfort possible from such a system, call Rodenhiser today. We’re proud to keep Metro-West Boston comfortable.
Our goal is to help educate our customers about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Solutions Guide.
Energy efficiency image via Shutterstock