When your air conditioner turns on to keep your Plainfield home cool, another critical component works right alongside it: the blower fan. The blower fan in your air conditioner works to move air through the air conditioner and on through the vents. While most blower fans run at a consistent speed, you may wonder if it's possible to adjust the fan's speed to increase the comfort of your home. The best answer is: it depends. To learn the details of when, how, and why to adjust your system's blower fan, keep reading this article from the pros at TR Miller Heating, Cooling & Plumbing.
More Info on Blower Fans
By itself, your home's air conditioner can't move air. All an air conditioner does is remove heat and humidity from your home's indoor air. You need a blower fan to get the air where it's needed. A blower fan has two main tasks. Its first task is to draw in warm, humid air from inside your home. It pulls this air in through return vents. Depending on the size of your home, you may have one or more return vents. In a multi-story home, there will be at least one return vent on every level. After the blower fan draws in the unconditioned air, it sends it through the evaporator coil in the air conditioner. The blower fan gives the air enough momentum to continue moving through the supply ducts and out through the vents in each room. The blower fan is truly the heart of your HVAC system.
Using the Blower Fan
Many people overlook the fact that they can use their blower fan without using their air conditioner or furnace. By setting your system to run constantly and turning the heating and cooling functions off, your blower fan will circulate air throughout your home. This is one instance when being able to control the speed of the fan is especially helpful. Air circulation is good to help keep your home comfortable on mild days when it's not hot enough to run the air conditioner. It's also helpful if you need to bring in fresh air from the outside. Some people also use the blower fan as a white noise machine when trying to go to sleep. To perform these functions well, TR Miller Heating, Cooling & Plumbing recommends dialing in your blower fan's speed.
Why Adjust the Speed?
Most of the time, you'll likely use your blower fan in conjunction with your air conditioner or furnace. Even with these conditioning functions in effect, proper speed calibration of your blower fan is critical. One good reason to adjust your fan speed is to reduce your energy usage. If you slow your fan down, it will consume less energy and experience less wear and tear, meaning you'll save on long-term costs. Another reason to slow down your fan is to help reduce the volume of your system. If your utility closet is adjacent to a common area, reducing your fan's speed can help make it easier to hear other people talking. The most common reason that you might want to increase your fan's speed is to increase its conditioned air output. This will allow your home to reach the desired temperature more quickly.
Adjusting the Belt
For many blower fans, adjusting the speed is as simple as loosening a single screw. On pulley-driven systems, this screw helps hold the pulley in place. By loosening it, you can adjust the pulley by turning it clockwise or counterclockwise, depending on whether you want the fan to turn faster or slower. However, just because the process seems simple doesn't mean it's easy. Each blower fan is different depending on its age, size, and intended use. Therefore, loosening the setscrew that holds the pulley in place could release other parts that could be difficult to put back together without proper training. That's why we recommend asking your HVAC technician about adjusting your blower fan's speed when the technician is at your home for regular system maintenance. This ensures you get the fan speed you desire without accidentally causing expensive damage to your system.
Variable Speed Fans
Understanding that you don't always need a fan's full capacity, HVAC manufacturers offer variable-speed blower fans to add an extra level of efficiency and comfort to your home. These great units can automatically sense the required cooling capacity of your home and slow down or speed up to accommodate these changing needs. Some units also allow you to manually adjust the speed using a switch on your thermostat. Although these units cost more upfront, they can save you money in the long run because they're only ever running as fast as the conditions in your home require. This means they don't use unnecessary electricity or wear out prematurely. Plus, being able to ramp up the fan speed on especially hot days means that you'll never have to suffer in a warm house.
Maintaining Your Blower Fan
The pros at TR Miller Heating, Cooling & Plumbing are happy to maintain your air conditioner's fan for you during regular maintenance visits. However, if you want to perform some extra maintenance between visits, here are a few things you can do. First, make sure that you regularly replace your system's air filter. While this isn't maintaining the fan directly, a clean filter can help prevent dust from finding its way into your HVAC system. As dust passes through, it will often adhere to the fan blades, decreasing the efficiency of the fan in the process. If you notice that the fan blades are unusually dusty, you can clean them using a damp cloth. Just make sure that the power to the system is turned off so that the fan doesn't start rotating unexpectedly.
Other Ways To Improve Comfort
Adjusting the speed of your air conditioner's fan can do a lot to increase air movement throughout your home. However, if you're noticing inadequate airflow in some rooms in your home, a faulty fan may not be the culprit. Instead, you may be dealing with clogged ducts. Dust-clogged ducts can be a huge problem because they reduce airflow, meaning that your system has to run longer to change your home's temperature. An even bigger problem is that clogged ducts can cause the blower to exert too much air pressure on the sensitive components of your air conditioner, leading to a system failure. To ensure efficient HVAC performance, make sure that your ducts are clean.
Taking Care of Your Home's HVAC System
At TR Miller Heating, Cooling & Plumbing, our goal is to help our customers get the most out of their HVAC systems. That's why we're proud to offer maintenance, repair, and installation services for air conditioners and furnaces. We also install water heaters, clean drains, detect and repair leaks, and much more. Since our founding, we have worked hard to maintain a high standard of excellence. This quest is reflected in our five-star customer reviews. Contact us today to learn more about maintaining and adjusting your HVAC system.