Fans in residential furnaces will be subject to new Department of Energy (DOE) efficiency standards in July of 2019. Specifically, the fan motors will be targeted for change. Carrier and other manufacturers are ensuring they will be ready to meet the new requirement. Manufacturers are currently planning to phase out older induction motors for newer constant torque ECM motors between March and April of 2019, in order to meet the new DOE Standards.
In July of 2014, the DOE established final standards for residential furnace fans. These standards outlined new technologically feasible energy conservation resulting in significant conservation of energy along with being economically justified. Rich Bardgett, market manager for Nidec Corp., said, “the fan energy rating (FER) standard is essentially designed to regulate the efficiency of the fan in gas-fired furnaces, but that really means the motor;” hence the move away from induction motors to constant torque ECM motors.
The standard accounts for power consumption in heating, cooling, and constant circulation modes. The DOE predicts the new furnace fans will save approximately 3.99 quads of energy, reduce carbon pollution by up to 34 million metric tons (equivalent to the annual electricity use of 4.7 million homes), and save Americans more than $9 billion in home electricity bills through 2030. Although the savings have an increased initial cost, which is worrisome for many builders, the cost for homeowners is predicted to be dramatically reduced as power consumption of the motor will be reduced by as much as 46%.
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