Department of Energy Introduces New Standard for HVAC Fans

Energy efficient HVAC equipment can save consumers money and help the planet.

Department of EnergyAt the end of June, the Department of Energy released the latest new energy efficiency standard associated with President Obama’s Climate Action Plan of 2013. This standard covers the efficiency of furnace fans, requiring that new furnace fans for 70,000 Btu/hour furnaces consume no more than 1,000 KwH or energy per year.

Specific expected benefits of the measure include:

  • 46 percent reduction in energy use
  • Elimination of 34 million metric tons of carbon pollution by 2030
  • $9 billion in electricity bill savings by 2030

The standard is expected to have such a big impact because furnace fans aren’t just used during heating season. In many homes and businesses, the furnace fan is also used to circulate cool air generated by the air conditioning system.

Buying Energy Efficient HVAC Equipment

If you are interested in getting the best, most energy-efficient HVAC equipment for your home, looking for the ENERGY STAR labels awarded by the Department of Energy is an excellent place to begin. These labels indicate that the equipment has met the energy efficiency standards set by the government and therefore can be considered a “green” appliance. However, a label alone doesn’t guarantee that a piece of equipment will perform efficiently in your home. For instance, with air conditioners it is very important to get the correct size of air conditioner for your space. If you get a unit that is either too small or too large, it won’t function properly and energy efficiency benefits will not be achieved.

If cost savings is your primary reason for buying energy efficient HVAC equipment, bear in mind that there are different degrees of efficiency, and typically the more efficient you get the higher the initial purchase price. Checking the SEER ratings on the equipment before you buy will help you understand the amount of efficiency gained by various products. Also, be sure to calculate your projected energy savings per year and compare this to the purchase prices of the units. This will tell you how long it will take to make up the difference in purchase price and begin actually saving money.

Maintaining Energy Efficient Equipment

Maintenance is extremely important for energy efficient HVAC equipment. Without proper maintenance, the system can get stressed by dirty air filters or by worn or damaged parts, which will reduce efficiency. The condition of your building envelope and insulation is also important for supporting energy efficiency. Fortunately, you can turn to General Heating & Air Conditioning for help on both fronts. We provide expert planned maintenance to keep HVAC units working their best, as well as home performance services to help ensure heated or cooled air isn’t getting wasted.