What to Know About Fan Efficiency Ratings

When you’re shopping for AC repair services close to Chicago, IL, you’re likely only thinking about how you can fix your unit with quality workmanship for the best price. But if you dig a little deeper, you may come across a term that’s well known in the HVAC industry: fan efficiency ratings or FER.

FER is a set of national standards meant to regulate furnace fans in residential buildings. This standard dictates how much power a fan is allowed to consume. Though the standards were established by the Department of Energy in 2014, they will only take effect this year. The Department of Energy expects that these standards will reduce the amount of energy furnace fans consume by approximately 40 percent.

How Does this Affect Me?

If you’re shopping for AC repair services close to Chicago, IL, you may not have to worry too much about FER just yet. Only when it comes time to purchase a new furnace will you need to consider the impact of fan efficiency ratings on your HVAC needs. Essentially, what these new standards do is place strict rules about what kind of furnaces manufacturers can create and sell.

As a result of fan efficiency ratings, many manufacturers will need to change the components that they’ve traditionally used to manufacture their equipment. This means extra expense, which will likely be passed on to you, the consumer, when you decide to replace your HVAC system. However, on the flip side, given the need to sell these new types of furnaces, there’s a chance that manufacturers will be incentivized to find new, affordable ways to improve the FER of their furnaces. Either way, this is something to consider if you’re within a few years of needing to replace your furnace.

It may make sense to go ahead with a replacement before older furnaces with low fan efficiency ratings become obsolete so you can avoid the high upfront cost of the new furnaces. However, you’ll need to balance that decision-making process with the fact that units with a lower FER will cost more to run and may not last as long.

Big Electricity Savings

Though there is a cost associated with the new fan efficiency ratings, the projected savings are significant. According to the Appliance Standards Awareness Project, the net present value of savings through 2014 for the United States could amount to as much as $28.8 billion.