Let a Furnace Blower Run Constantly to Save Money?
LESLIE: Joe is Ohio is on the line with a blower-motor question. What’s going on at your money pit?
JOE: I was listening to another home improvement show locally and they had an electrical – residential electrical contractor on there. And he said that you could let your furnace blower run constantly. He said that because the capacitor sucks up a lot of electricity in order to start the motor, that it – I guess if it’s cycling on and off frequently, that you would save on electricity by letting it run constantly.
TOM: I would disagree with that and here’s why: those blower motors, that uses most of the electricity it takes to run the furnace. Now, if the blower is cycling on or off, that’s a whole different problem. That means that the thermostat is not operating properly, the system’s not sized right. There’s other things that cause that. We call that short-cycling.
You’re not going to hurt the blower motor by running it but I think you’ll find that you’re going to drive up your electrical cost by doing that. We know people that, for example, love to heat their homes with a wood stove. But because it’s hard to distribute the wood stove’s warmth throughout the house, they’ll turn on the wood stove and then also turn on the blower on the on position – not the auto position; turn it to the on position – and use that blower’s system and the ducts to basically move the heat around the house. So, you’re not hurting the blower because it’s got bearings and it’s not designed to run indefinitely. But you might be driving up your electrical costs. Does that make sense?
JOE: I wondered about it because – like you say about the short cycling, I’ve had someone check the furnace and it cycles like about every five minutes and when it’s really cold outside. But they said – they came out and checked it and said that that was normal or that was the way it was meant to operate.
TOM: Yeah. Five minutes sounds too quick. I would find that to be odd for that to be normal.
TOM: So, that’s all I can tell you. It sounds too quick to me. It sounds like a short-cycle situation. That’s probably the more important thing for you to address.
JOE: Alright. Well, maybe I’ll check with another one then.
TOM: Good luck with that project and thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.