With air conditioners, many consumers are under the impression that larger, faster, and more forceful always means better performance. This is why countless people in Northridge, California have made the grievous mistake of buying the biggest air conditioners they could find, even though these units aren’t well-suited to their homes. Others have set their AC fans to blow at top speeds. Just as air conditioners have to be properly sized for their intended service areas, they also have to be adjusted to meet the needs of their environments. Here are three important benefits of properly adjusting the fan speed on the AC unit in your San Fernando Valley home.
Better Humidity Control
Homeowners are becoming increasingly savvy when it comes to creating efficient living spaces that inhibit air loss and prevent energy waste. Over time, the average home has become fairly airtight. With increased insulation; better weatherstripping; double-, triple-, and even quadruple-paned windows; and regular efforts to seal up all gaps, cracks, and other air leaks, your home likely has a very tight envelope during the summer season.
Although this works well for your energy bill and may even improve your indoor air quality, it does set the stage for humidity problems. In some buildings, AC systems are so effective that they don’t actually run long enough to regulate indoor humidity. In a sense, we might venture to say that they’ve become too efficient in this respect. With tighter envelopes, cooling loads decrease, air conditioners work less, and building interiors cool down faster.
The challenge comes with the fact that air conditioners are designed to remove two distinctly different types of heat. These are latent heat and sensible heat. Sensible heat represents the pure rise in temperature that your thermostat registers. Latent accounts for the thermal gains that occur in your home caused by excess moisture or humidity. This is why many homeowners complain about living environments that feel cool and yet also feel muggy or clammy.
Surprisingly, a simple adjustment of your air conditioner’s fan speed can make all the difference. At installation, most air conditioners are set to operate at 400 cubic feet per minute (CFM), but airtight homes that have a tendency to become muggy might feel a bit better when AC fans are set at 350 CFM or lower. Slower fan speeds delay rapid cool downs, but they also give air conditioners a better opportunity to regulate humidity before the end of their cooling cycle.
An overly high fan speed causes lots of air to come flowing out of AC vents, but this is air that’s only slightly cool rather than cold. Hearing and feeling the force of air that your system is emitting might be enough to convince you that your air conditioner is doing its job. However, a less forceful flow of far colder air is what you really want.
When the goal is decreased indoor humidity, a lower fan speed will extend AC operation. When you want colder air, this extended operation will also increase the efficacy of the cooling cycle. Slower fan speeds allow warm air to spend more time on the evaporator coil where the cooling process actually occurs. Once your AC fan’s speed has been lowered, you’ll likely notice a significant decrease in the temperature of the air that’s flowing out of your HVAC air vents.
3. Less Wear and Tear on Your HVAC System and Your Air Ducts
Adjusting air conditioner fans is all about optimizing their performance. Air conditioners are designed to extract excess humidity, regulate inside temperatures, and provide a moderate amount of air filtration. When problems occur in any of these areas, most units wind up working harder than they were intended to. In some instances, lower fan speeds will improve both temperature and humidity control, limit air pressure in the HVAC air ducts, and dramatically reduce overall system wear.
However, it’s important to note that fan speed adjustments should always be performed by licensed professionals. Like all other aspects of AC setups, fan adjustments are a complex and ideally precise process. Just as a fan speed of 400 CFM won’t work well for all buildings, 350 CFM may be too low or too high for yours. Having a licensed HVAC technician handle the job will ensure that you get the energy-saving, comfort, performance, and efficiency improvements you want.
Carrier Infinity Heat Pump Systems
Our premier HVAC company provides top-of-the-line Carrier Heat Pump Systems for the ultimate in-home comfort. The new Carrier Infinity 26 SEER air conditioner and the Infinity 24 SEER Heat pump system have both variable speed indoor fan motors and variable speed compressors so they regulate the airflow and capacity for maximum humidity control.
if you’re interested in learning more about this or any of the other quality HVAC products we offer, we’d be happy to answer your questions!
At Kahn Air Conditioning, Inc., we provide HVAC services that San Fernando Valley residents can count on. We also offer indoor air quality services, generators, and smart home products. If your air conditioner’s fan needs adjusted, we’ve got you covered. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.