What is the Difference Between a Blower and a Fan?
TechXpert verified by Ken Kontra
In a heating and cooling system, a blower controls what direction the air can flow in and a fan encourages airflow. Blowers and fans have the same purpose of circulating air, however, their processes of doing so is what distinguishes one from the other. There are several aspects that differentiate a blower from a fan and can determine which is the better option for parts of your HVAC system.
Here’s a simple distinction: A fan is an electrical device that’s in charge of continuous airflow and a blower is a mechanical device that uses impellers to channel the air in a specific direction. While fans are designed to move large volumes of air at low pressures, blowers are meant to move large amounts of air at moderate pressures. That distinction is important for a working HVAC system.
Some blowers and fans have variable speed that allow them to increase and decrease their airflow. Fan motors torque up the shafts of the fan to rotate the blades and circulate air in and around the area of the fan, while blower motors are powered by the kinetic energy of the impellers to increase and decrease the volume of air that flows.
Energy efficiency for both blowers and fans comes down to design: Do the blades propel air axially or centrifugally? Axial airflow means the air enters and leaves the fan without changing direction. Centrifugal airflow indicates that the air changes direction twice — once when it enters the fan and again when it leaves.
Generally, fans are considered more energy efficient than blowers because they use less power. However, blowers tend to produce more air circulation than fans, making them more useful.
One Over the Other
Even though fans may be more energy efficient than blowers, consider the other factors. Blowers can conserve energy and generate more airflow at the same time, plus they produce more airspeed and rate of airflow and circulation. And since they cost less to operate than fans, a blower may be the best choice for your HVAC system.
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