Share This Guide
Air Conditioning is truly a blessing with a curse. Nothing compares to the pleasure AC offers in these super hot summers. But the cost of running it and the environmental impact is also an issue.
You can’t leave without them also you can’t just discard them. But you can set the mode of cooling which will help you to save energy and electricity bills.
So which is better to use more often between high cool vs high fan?
High cool will cool down the whole room compared to the high fan. However, high cool mode is much more expensive and environmentally harmful. Even though the high fan will help circulate the air more efficiently, it’s certainly noisier. Also, they differ in performance under humid weather.
Want a better understanding of which to use more? I have a detailed comparison between high cool and high fan. Just follow us to this article!
What does a high-speed fan mean exactly? When you change the ac settings and turn up the fan speed, the ac starts working the built-in fan. This makes the built-in fan run at a higher speed, making up for the compressor’s absence.
The compressor is the main component of the ac to cool the room. Turning the high cool on makes the ac put more load on the compressor. The fans don’t have much of an impact in high cool.
But how do these two modes impact the cold feeling or the energy usage?
|Difference||High Cool||High Fan|
|Performance in High Humidity||Worse||Better|
|Efficiency||Better for a long span of usage||Better for a short span of usage|
|Expense||10 cents per watt-hour||1.5 cents per watt-hour|
|Negative Environmental Impact||More||Comparatively Less|
There are many nuances that cannot be explained just by the table. So let’s get into the details.
In-depth Comparison Between High Cool And High Fan
We got a picture about what’s the difference between high cool and high fan. But there is so much more going into those aspects. But before going into those details let’s check out this graphical comparison.
In High Humidity
Humidity has more of an effect on how hot it feels than almost anything else. So, when the humidity is high, which one is better to feel cooler?
High cool during high humidity basically does nothing more than what low cool would do. So low cool, during high humidity, is more efficient.
More air circulation does wonders in reducing humidity. And higher fan speed means more air circulation. The air circulation effectively takes away the humid air inside the room and replaces it with fresh air.
If the humidity is lowered, the cooler air coming from the ac can be more evenly distributed. Making the whole room much cooler.
Winner: In cases of high humidity, it is better to have the fan speed higher. Low cool does nothing less than high cool in high humidity.
Efficiency is the ratio between the cooling capability and the power consumption. Between high cool and high fan, which one is more efficient?
The comparison of efficiency is a bit complicated. The difference between 3, 3.5 and 4 ton ac in terms of efficiency is pretty big. But we will not factor that in this discussion.
Are you gonna be running the air conditioner for a prolonged period? In that case, high cool is more efficient.
High-cool air conditioning will cool the room, slowly but surely. Then once the room is cold, it will maintain the cool more easily. The primary requirement of high energy is somewhat met up by the lower demand later.
On the other hand, high cool is horrible for short periods of usage. Reaching the high cold takes time. So running the air conditioner for a short while and then turning it off is not worth it.
Short-term usage in the high cold just consumes a high amount of electrical energy. And turning it off does not give you the later stage of lower power consumption.
The situation for the high fan is just the opposite of high cool. For short usage, the high fan is better. For long usage, the high fan is not efficient.
For short usage, a high fan cools the room quite fast. Fan consumes much less energy than high cool. So for short usage running the air conditioner at high fan speed helps a lot.
But for long usage, high fan speed does do much for cooling. Once the set temperature is reached, the fans keep running without much use. This consumes unnecessary power.
Winner: This section is a draw. A high fan is better for short usage. On the other hand, high cool is better for long usage.
The cost of running an ac is a major headache. The main cost is the price of electricity. If an air conditioner uses less electricity, it will give you a cheaper bill obviously.
How is the low cool vs high cool power consumption? Let’s see the expenses.
High cool mode in air conditioners is very power-hungry. The difference between low cool vs high cool power consumption is pretty drastic. High cooling can consume much over 1000 watts of electricity.
The general cost of a kilowatt-hour in the US is between 9 and 10 cents. So if we round it up as 10 cents the cost of 1 watt-hour of electricity is 0.01 cents. So if we multiply it by 1000 watts then we get 10 cents.
So clearly running high cool is going to be very expensive.
Compared to high cool, high fans are much less power-hungry. High fan needs around 150 watts of energy. If we take the basic rate of electricity as 10 cents per kilowatt-hour then 150 watts will cost 1.5 cents
Running the air conditioner on a high-speed fan is comparatively cheaper.
Winner: High fan wins this round. It consumes much less electricity. In turn, being much cheaper.
Air conditioning is a blessing for us. But the damage it does to nature is truly incomprehensible.
There are two key aspects of air conditioning’s environmental impact. The first one is high power consumption. The other one is the greenhouse gas air conditioning releases.
Remember our earth’s ozone layer is depleting every day. So we need to raise awareness not only on Ozone day but every moment of our days.
So is high cool or high fan better for the environment? Let’s see.
We already discussed the high level of power consumption of high cool. That high power consumption has its environmental impact as well.
Moreover, high temperatures release excess amounts of greenhouse gasses, especially methane. The compressor is the one releasing these gasses. So putting more load on the compressor results in more gas being let out.
The greenhouse gasses damage the ozone layer of the earth. This in turn heats up the earth much more. Accelerating global warming.
High fan is much less power-hungry, as we already mentioned.
Running a high fan is basically like running an ordinary fan. No compressor load is needed. So higher speed of fans does not impact the release of greenhouse gasses.
A high fan or low fan does not have an effect on the release of greenhouse gas from the ac.
Winner: High fan wins this round. Compressor usage is the main factor for the environmental impact of ac. Increasing the fan speed is just like increasing the speed of the ceiling fan.
This might be the least relevant comparison for many. But this is a factor that some of us keep in mind.
So let’s see which one is louder!
The compressor does make some sound. But this is not the main source of an air conditioner’s sound. So putting more load onto the compressor will not make it noticeably louder.
The fans running is what makes the air conditioner’s sound noticeable. The air passing through the fans is what makes the sound.
So a high fan will make the air conditioner louder. But the ac will not make a sound after being turned off unless it’s malfunctioned.
Winner: High cool wins this round. Increasing the cool does not make any noticeable difference in sound.
Which Mode Should You Choose?
Running the air conditioner in a high fan is much better. It consumes less power and releases less gas. It also makes the room colder faster.
But for running the AC for a prolonged period, it is better to run it on high cool. The high fan does not do much after the initial cooling of the room.
How is Efficiency in AC Measured?
The efficiency of an air conditioner is measured in terms of its energy efficiency ratio. It is the ratio of BTUs/watts input. There is also a seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER), it measures the air conditioner’s efficiency over a longer period.
Does Servicing the AC Affect It?
Yes, servicing the air conditioner is necessary for keeping it in shape. Cleaning the air conditioner’s coils and fins is basic servicing. For better cleaning, changing the gas, or anything else, professionals can be hired. Professional servicing of the ac annually is recommended.
How Often Should the AC Filters be Changed?
Ideally, the air conditioner’s filters should be changed once every three months. If the ac is running all the time, change it once a month. Neglecting this issue and having a dirty filter can lead to poor airflow. Or even freezing up the air conditioner’s evaporator coil.
Now we know how the air conditioner is affected by high cool vs high fan.
Generally, a high fan is better to use than any high cool mode. It is less expensive, more environmentally friendly but noisier.
Best of luck in this summer heat!
HVAC tech with over 30 years of experience. Retired and doing repair work on the side around Madison County, AL.