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Should You Choose a Variable-Speed Air Handler When You Upgrade the A/C?

The development of the variable-speed air handler improves your options for cool comfort and energy efficiency. For decades, air conditioner and furnace air circulation was limited to on/off operation. When a system with this limited functionality cycles on, the blower delivers at 100 percent output. When it cycles off, the output is zero percent.

This back-and-forth alternation between extremes causes indoor temperatures to fluctuate as much as 10 degrees above or below the desired thermostat setting. It also reduces air quality, increases household humidity and adds lots of noise to the indoor environment. Choosing a variable-speed air handler for your A/C upgrade is a better idea for comfort and efficiency.

What Is ECM Technology?

Conventional on/off blowers utilize permanent split capacitor (PSC) motors that run at only one speed: full blast. Electronically commutated motor (ECM) technology incorporated in new air handlers runs across a wide range of speeds with substantially less energy consumption. In a typical installation, the controller is programmed to cycle on around 50 percent blower output. After a pre-set interval, the air handler ramps up gradually to full output to achieve the thermostat setting. Once the indoor temperature is stabilized, the programmer reduces blower speed to run continuously at very low output.

Why It’s Better

The advantages of upgrading to a variable-speed air handler are both comfort-enhancing and money-saving, such as the following.

  • Temperature swings between on/off cycles are eliminated and indoor comfort is more consistent.
  • Because air circulation through ductwork is almost continuous, air filtration isn’t interrupted by on/off cycling, resulting in improved air quality.
  • Lower output operation means quieter air circulation. Roars created by air blasting through the ducts are eliminated.
  • Energy efficiency improves and operating costs are reduced. In the cooling mode, your conventional PSC blower consumes 500 watts or more of electricity. A variable-speed air handler with an ECM blower uses less than 100 watts.
  • Humidity extraction, an important part of air conditioning here in Florida, functions more effectively at lower, continuous air volume.

For more information on the advantages of upgrading to a variable-speed air handler in Orlando, contact Rinaldi’s Energy Solutions.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in Orlando, Florida and surrounding areas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).  For more information about variable-speed air handlers and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.

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