Should You Run Your Blower Fan without the Air Conditioner?

turbine representing the fan inside an air conditioner

It’s an ages-old debate: does it do any good to run your blower fan in your home without turning on the air conditioner itself? While it may make sense since it helps to circulate air and keep things from getting stuffy, it may actually be costing you more money in the end.

A Love Affair

Since the 1800s, human beings have loved their fans. The constant stream of air blowing on our skin provides an instant cooling sensation, helps us to breathe easier in high humidity, and just makes us feel more comfortable all-around. Almost everyone has fans in their homes; they come in many different styles including boxes, towers and even the exhaust fans that are designed to blow in fresh air while sucking out the stale air in our homes. In fact, even your central air conditioner is equipped with a fan powerful enough to force air through your entire home.

How It Works

Inside of your air conditioning unit, there is something known as the ‘blower’. The primary purpose of this fan is to blow the air that has been cooled inside of the exchanger all throughout your home via a series of ducts. Many of them are highly efficient these days and do a fantastic job of distributing air, so it only makes sense that people turn them on when it gets hot outside – without turning on the actual air conditioner – in an attempt to stay comfortable without spending extra money on the actual air conditioning. This presents a series of issues, though.

Hot Ducts

It is more energy efficient to run the fan without the air conditioner, but only in certain situations and for short periods of time. The truth is that your ducts are going to heat up when it gets really warm outside, and this is especially true if they are located in your attic or under your floor. No matter how well they are insulated, the heat is going to get in. This means that when you turn on the fan and let it run, the only thing you’re doing is circulating hot air throughout your home – and the air in the ducts might be warmer than the air in your home in the first place.

Doing It Right

Of course, there are a few circumstances in which it might be a good idea to run the whole-home fan for a while in order to maintain your comfort level. If it’s cloudy and relatively cool outside but feeling stuffy in your home, running the fan for an hour or so can certainly help. If you don’t want to turn the fan off and on all of the time, there are some new technologies that will allow you to program the blower fan to run for 10 to 15 minutes each hour.

So, is it a good idea to run your whole-home blower fan to remove stuffiness and provide cooling relief? Not really. If it’s hot outside, running this fan isn’t going to do much to help you stay comfortable. It’s best to just allow the air conditioner to do its job.