How A Variable-Speed Blower Motor Influences System Efficiency And Lifespan

The variable-speed blower motor is not a new advancement in the HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) industry, but until recently, they were used primarily for commercial applications.  However, variable-speed blower motors offer so many advantages that they’re now becoming more common for residential use. 

Variable-speed blower motors are much more energy efficient, which ultimately saves you money on your utility bills. Additionally, they:

  • Provide a higher level of comfort
  • Operate more quietly
  • Produce a cleaner living environment

When you compare these types of systems to a typical single-speed blower, the only downside is that they have a higher initial cost.  However, you’ll recoup your investment quickly through increased energy efficiency and lower bills.

A single-speed blower motor has, as the name implies, one speed.  The motor is either on or off, and it may cycle several times per hour, depending on the thermostat setting, and whether it’s reach your desired temperature.  When a single-speed blower motor comes on, it comes on full speed, and pushes out the air that has been sitting in the ducts since the last cycle ended.  You can hear the noise and feel the rush of air each time this occurs.  You also may see a surge of dust, depending on what’s sitting in your ducts.

By contrast, a variable-speed blower motor ramps up slowly, at reduced power, and gradually climbs to the speed that you preset.  It also operates more quietly than a single-speed blower motor, consumes less energy, and doesn’t produce a sudden blast of air when it turns on.  And, because it isn’t working at full speed continuously, it helps extend the life of your system.

A key feature of a variable-speed blower motor is that you have the option to allow it to run continuously, which may seem counterintuitive. However, this provides the most efficient operation, and you will use approximately 50 percent less energy.  Like a light fixture, a blower motor is best turned on and left on, rather than being switched on and off several times an hour.

A variable-speed blower motor also provides more efficient air filtration, because slower air speeds allow for more filtration to occur. Additionally, when you have the motor set to run continuously, your home’s air is always moving and continually being filtered.

For more information, or for other questions regarding your home’s heating and cooling system, contact Ibbotson Heating & Air Conditioning Co. We’ve proudly served Northwest Chicago residents since 1946.

Our goal is to help educate our customers about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).  For more information about variable speed blower and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.

Ibbotson Heating & Air Conditioning Co. services Arlington Heights, Illinois and the surrounding areas. Visit our website to see our special offers and get started today!     

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    Gregory Ibbotson Gregory Ibbotson is a service technician and manager at Ibbotson Heating Company ... More »