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Should You Leave Your AC Fan Running 24/7?

Should You Leave Your AC Fan Running 24/7?

Life in Florida means reliable air conditioning is a must-have. Skyrocketing energy costs might have you looking for ways to slash the bill, and in your search for tips, you might come across advice to leave the air conditioner fan running constantly.  

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Should you have a running fan going 24/7, though? While there are some obvious benefits to doing so, not the least of which is the convenience of not needing to adjust the controls constantly, there are also some drawbacks to consider. To help you decide, check out our guide and get an honest answer about the best way to handle the HVAC fan.

Pros of Running the Fan

Most homeowners take a “set it and forget it” approach to the thermostat. They set a schedule for their preferred temperature, turn the fan to Auto, and let the thermostat and HVAC system take control and turn the fan on and off automatically as needed. However, you also have the option to switch the setting to “on” and have a continuously running fan. 

This approach can reduce wear and tear on the air conditioning equipment because the fan doesn’t have to start and stop as often. Running the fan on the AC all the time also helps maintain a more consistent and even temperature throughout your home because air is constantly circulating, eliminating hot and cold spots. Keeping the fan on can also help people with allergies since it forces air to circulate through the filters and UV sterilizers, removing more contaminants and improving indoor air quality

Cons of Running the Fan 

For all the upsides of a constantly running fan, there are some downsides. The most significant is the increase in energy usage and the subsequent higher bills. When you’re trying to cut expenses, keeping the AC fan on 24/7 isn’t helpful and will probably cost you more. 

That said, the U.S. Department of Energy released new efficiency standards for air conditioners that could reduce or eliminate this concern. If your HVAC equipment is new and adheres to the upgraded standards, it shouldn’t cost significantly more to run the fan constantly.

The more you run the fan, the more air the system pulls into the HVAC unit. This means you’ll need to replace the air filter more frequently (another expense), especially since this habit can bring more dirty air into your home. Keeping the switch in the “on” position can also make the air conditioner work harder because it will pull more hot air into your home. 

Running the Fan Continuously vs. HVAC Wear 

Another point to consider when deciding whether to keep the fan on all day and night is the potential for wear and tear on the HVAC equipment. Anything that runs 24/7 will deteriorate faster than something that has rest periods. Even the ongoing stops and starts when you set the fan to auto are less damaging than what happens with months or years of constant use. 

You can expect a more considerable maintenance burden if you run the fan continuously, even if you’re running the AC fan without cooling. The filter will clog sooner, and the mechanical parts need more frequent attention to avoid breakdowns. 

Ultimately, the equipment’s overall lifespan could be shorter than expected, but if you have a newer system in good condition, this is less of a concern. 

Save Electricity by Cycling Off the AC at Night 

If you want to conserve electricity while maintaining indoor comfort, turning off the air conditioning at night when it’s cooler outside can increase efficiency — if the conditions are right. How much difference it makes to overall energy consumption, and whether you feel overheated, depends on three critical factors:  

  1. Outdoor Air Temperature. On a cool night, opening the windows to let the air in and running the air conditioner fan to circulate it can keep your home at a comfortable temperature. Just don’t forget to close the windows when the sun rises so your home doesn’t become overly warm.
  2. Outdoor Humidity. Floridians are no strangers to high humidity, and turning off the air conditioner isn’t an option when the air is heavy and sticky. Opening the windows isn’t going to make your home feel any cooler, even with a running fan, and when you turn the air conditioner back on, it will have to work harder to remove the moisture.
  3. Use of Other Cooling Devices. As long as the outside temperature isn’t too high, ceiling fans, exhaust fans, or a whole-house fan can help keep your home cool and comfortable without turning the air conditioner up to full blast; you may even be able to turn the air off and run only the fan to keep air moving.

Improve the Comfort and Efficiency of Running the AC Fan Only at Night 

You don’t have to choose between being too hot in your home and an affordable electric bill. If you’re running the AC fan only at night to save money, you can do a few things to ensure maximum comfort and efficiency.  

Switching the air conditioner to auto mode while running ceiling fans can help keep air circulating, and the unit will automatically turn on and off as needed to maintain a consistent temperature. Upgrading to a variable-speed air conditioner that adjusts the fan speed to your preferred temperature can also help keep your home cool with excessive energy bills.

Investing in a dehumidifier can also help reduce strain on the HVAC system by removing excess moisture from the air. A whole-house dehumidifier removes moisture from the ductwork, ensuring the air from the vents is cool and dry.  

Air Conditioning Services in Jacksonville, FL, With Waychoff’s

If you think you need a constantly running fan to keep your home cool and comfortable, talk to the experts at Waychoff’s Air Conditioning in the Jacksonville, FL area about equipment upgrades and other strategies that might be more energy efficient. It’s easy to make an appointment with these experienced HVAC technicians online or by calling (904) 409-3478. We’ll be there the same or the next day to investigate your air conditioning issues and find the best, most affordable solutions.