Air Conditioner Fan Mode—Biggest Benefits & When To Use It

Anyone who has spent summer in Queensland knows how unbearable the heat can be without good quality air conditioning. But with the average cost of living continuing to rise, homeowners are looking for more ways to cut down their energy consumption without sacrificing the comfort of high-end air conditioning.

That’s where your air conditioner’s fan mode comes in. In some cases it can provide adequate cooling while being a fraction of the electricity costs. In this article, we’ll explore what it is, some benefits, when to use it, and how it differs from a regular ceiling fan.

What is fan mode in AC?

Chances are you’re familiar with the little fan icon on the air conditioner remote, but what is fan mode in AC? Put simply, when your air conditioner is in fan mode the unit’s fan circulates air around the room. In this mode, the fan—rather than the compressor—does the work as the fan runs continuously while the compressor is turned off. This means that the temperature and humidity levels of the room don’t change because the fan is simply re-circulating air that is already in the room.

What are the benefits of air conditioner fan mode?

Using your air conditioner in fan mode comes with a range of benefits, such as:

Best time to use air conditioner fan mode

The best time to use fan mode is when you are already happy with the room’s temperature and humidity levels, but want the comfort that comes with gently circulating air. Because the fan mode won’t cool your room, air conditioner fan mode is better saved for cooler days, or times when you want to refresh the stale air in a room. Some of the best times to use air conditioner fan mode are:

Depending on your temperature preferences, you can also use air conditioner fan mode any time the room has reached its optimal temperature and you simply want to circulate the already cool air. Remember that the optimal way to run your air conditioner is to keep it within the most efficient temperature settings for your region.

AC fan mode vs ceiling fan

While air conditioner fan mode works in a similar way to a standard pedestal or ceiling fan, there are a few important differences to consider when weighing up your choices in the AC fan mode vs ceiling fan debate.

The biggest difference between air conditioner fan mode and a ceiling fan is their relative cooling abilities. While air conditioner fan mode will deliver a minor cooling effect by redistributing air around the room, cooling is not its primary purpose—that’s what the air conditioner’s cooling mode is for. By comparison, ceiling fans are generally more powerful and can move more air, making them a better option for evaporative cooling.

The second main difference between air conditioner fan mode and a ceiling fan is their energy consumption. While fan mode uses less power than other air conditioner modes, it still uses more than a ceiling fan. The majority of ceiling fans use between 30 and 70 watts, which is significantly less than air conditioner fan mode. This translates to a sizable dollar difference, with Canstar Blue analysis finding the average ceiling fan only costs between $0.02 and $0.05 per hour, depending on fan speed.