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Why Your Fan Energy Rating Matters Going Forward

Back in 2014, the Department of Energy took an unprecedented step in energy efficiency regulations and implemented protocols not just for your furnace, but for an individual part of your furnace for the very first time. The regulations established requirements for the blower fans we use in our furnaces—the fans which push the warm air your furnace produces out into your home, and mandated that they become more efficient.

Now, starting earlier this month, this new protocol has gone into effect, leading to a huge shift in the way heating and cooling manufacturers have approached their product lines. What does this shift mean for you and will it impact your furnace that you currently use? Our Cleveland heating services team will explain what you need to know about this regulatory change and how it could impact your life.

What Is a Fan Efficiency Rating?

The “Fan Efficiency Rating,” or “FER” for short, is a mathematical equation which accounts for the amount of electrical energy a blower fan motor uses for maximum airflow, heating airflow, and cooling airflow, in order to assign a numerical value to exactly how much energy it uses. Why does this matter? Because the blower fan is one of the largest energy consumers in your entire heating and cooling system, and thus reducing how much energy they use will both save you money and scale back carbon emissions.

To put it in the simplest terms, Carrier claims that this means they’ll have to shift blower motor offerings in their lower-tier offerings, including in the budget-friendly Comfort Series line. In the past, these systems would have come with a PSC blower motor as they were the cheapest. However, they’re now being replaced with fixed-speed, constant-torque motors (FCT) and electronically commutated motors (ECM).

What This Means for Your Furnace

The first question on your mind when reading this is likely “Does this mean I have to replace my blower fan motor?” The answer is no. You will not be required to change your blower fan motor in a system that’s already been purchased and installed.

What it does change is the type of blower fan motors that are available to choose from when you do have to change out your air conditioner. Specifically, the lower-tier and budget-friendly systems are going to get a bit of a kick upwards in price. Because the inexpensive motors which these systems previously used no longer comply with energy efficiency regulations, manufacturers like Carrier have to replace them with higher-end motors which are more energy-efficient, and that means a higher price tag on the purchase of your new system.

However, you will not be required to upgrade to a new style of motor if you are directly replacing the motor in your current system which was built with a PSC motor. Systems which were built before July 3, 2019 are actually exempt from this law, and will be able to purchase the less expensive PSC motors as replacement components until the furnace itself is replaced entirely.

If you have any questions as to how this legislation may affect your furnace, contact Arco Comfort Air at (216) 220-2566 today.