Furnace efficiency matters, especially during long Kansas winters where homeowners rely significantly on their heat to stay comfortable. But did you know that it also impacts air conditioner efficiency? On the surface, this might not make sense; however, your heating and cooling equipment both use the furnace’s air handler to move air around the house. The air handler’s motor efficiency, then, counts all year round.
In the past, an air handler would run at one speed — high — and its motor contributed to significant electricity consumption. Today’s high-efficiency Direct Current (DC) motors are much more sophisticated and can alternate between various speeds, depending on the temperature you set for the home via the thermostat. Ramping up gradually to a higher speed has several positive effects:
- Indoor air quality increases because your air circulates through the furnace and air conditioner systems’ air filters when the furnace fan runs at a low speed all day.
- When the heating and cooling equipment operates consistently, instead of intermittently, you get an even supply of heated or cooled air, increasing the comfort level of your home.
- There is less noise from the furnace fan when it comes on at a low speed and gradually increases, so your “starts” and “stops” are quiet.
Efficiency is probably the most significant gain of a high-efficiency variable-speed DC motor. In some models, the variable-speed DC motor operates at 60 different speeds, making it highly efficient at using energy. As a result, it uses significantly less electricity than a standard motor.
In addition, when the system runs on a low speed throughout the day, the high-efficiency DC motor uses electricity wisely — and less of it. Running the furnace fan/air handler all day long is usually not recommended because of the increased electricity consumption, but this is no longer a problem with variable DC motors.
Need to evaluate your air handler’s motor? Give the experts at Overland Park a call. We can help you assess the efficiency of your HVAC systems and help you make changes to increase your savings when considering a new A/C system.
Our goal is to help educate our customers about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information, click here to download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.