If you’re on the search for a new HVAC unit (central AC, heat pump and furnace), you know the question of which technology offers the best consumer experience quickly arises. In a market full of options, it might be hard to decipher which best suits your needs, but most experts would agree that variable speed technology is one of the top choices in HVAC equipment and performs in ways that one and two-stage units simply cannot. With the ability to vary its operating speed considerably, a variable speed fan can not only maintain a comfortable temperature indoors better than other units, but it also has the ability to save money and energy—two big advantages when choosing the system that’s right for you.
What Is a Variable Speed Fan Motor?
Just like its name suggests, a variable speed fan motor is a fan that has the ability to vary its operating speed. Unlike a two-stage system that performs at both full-capacity and partial capacity, or a one-stage system that only works at full capacity, a variable speed fan motor operates at a number of different levels and can incrementally increase or decrease its power depending on what is required to maintain desired indoor temperatures. Unlike a one or two-stage unit, apart from turning it on for the first time each year or at the beginning of a new season, variable speed fans rarely operate at full capacity. Though they have the ability to operate up to 100 percent of capacity, once up and running, a variable speed fan tends to use less power and can go as low as 40 percent capacity if necessary. This not only saves energy compared to units that run at full capacity all day, but it can significantly cut down on costs as well. The advantages don’t stop there, however—variable speed technology has many benefits that make it a great choice for heating and cooling your home.
5 Benefits of a Variable Speed Fan
When compared to one and two-stage systems, variable speed technology offers consumers a step up in both comfort and performance.
Saves Energy and Money
When running at half-speed, a variable speed motor uses approximately one eighth of the energy it takes to power the same motor at full speed for an hour. This also translates to cost. As a variable speed fan actually operates most of the time at half-speed, rarely reaching full capacity, it means it’s an economical choice as well as environmental. It provides a substantial difference in energy consumption and one that will certainly help when paying the electricity bill.
Better Temperature Control
When running a one-stage HVAC unit, consumers are only given two options: full capacity or off. This doesn’t offer much in the way of temperature personalization, and even a two-stage unit only features one extra setting. Variable speed fans, however, work to create a more nuanced and tailored temperature inside the home. By varying in smaller increments, it’s much easier to reach the desired temperature and maintain it without the furnace kicking on every few minutes.
Lower Noise Level
If your home is currently equipped with a standard one or two-stage unit, you know all too well the sounds associated with its constant need to turn on throughout the day; running at full or partial capacity, it can get pretty loud. With the use of a variable speed fan, there is no need for the system to kick on in the same way, and thus, homeowners are free of the racket and noise.
Running in longer cycles, a variable speed fan has the ability to better control humidity during the warm summer months. This helps to create a more comfortable environment, especially for those living in naturally warm climates.
Higher Quality Air
Because a variable speed fan runs in longer cycles, it also allows for more air to pass through the HVAC system’s air filter and better clean the air in your home. Though you’ll likely have to change the filter more frequently than with a standard unit, it’s a concession most will gladly make. Not only are high-quality 3M filters affordable, they’re great at keeping the air in your home free of impurities.
Is It Worth the Money?
Running a variable speed fan motor has the ability to significantly cut down on costs, but not without a caveat: like most high-performance units, its initial price tag is steeper than the more common one or two-stage units. This isn’t all bad, though. With the money saved on operating and energy costs, you can effectively offset the cost of a variable speed unit over time. It’s also important to remember that choosing the right unit isn’t solely about the cost. If a variable speed fan motor can offer you a more comfortable experience when indoors, especially when considering the type of home your have and the regional temperature, the value is yours to decide. It may be pricier than common units, but it offers much more, too.
If you’re considering variable-speed technology in your home, chances are you’ll experience a more energy efficient unit that controls temperature and humidity better than a one-stage unit ever could. Coupled with the lower monthly operating costs, it’s clear that choosing a variable-speed fan motor can make a significant difference in more ways than one.