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2019 Furnace Efficiency Rating (FER) Standards Change


The Department of Energy (DOE) has updated their FER standards that will take effect July 3, 2019. The long-anticipated change, which was originally delayed in 2018, is now set to take effect in July of 2019.

What that means to you

The DOE has issued new FER standards which eliminates the blower motor in most entry level furnace systems. The new standard will require electronic controlled motors (ECM) to replace the permanent split capacitor (PCM) blower motors. Invariably, this means the price of the average residential furnace will be increasing due to the higher cost of the ECM motors. Although the initial cost for a new furnace will be going up, the net effect on the homeowner’s energy usage by the motors may be reduced by as much as 46%, this could average, depending on model, climate and geographic region, by as much as $67.00 per year in energy savings.

When does this take effect?

After July 3rd, manufacturers will no longer be able to sell furnaces with PCM motors. Although the furnaces may still be in stock for a short time thereafter, the lower priced systems will only be available as supplies last.

Why was this change implemented?

In 2014 the DOE finalized standards for the fans used in residential furnaces. This move was a means to reduce energy consumption and carbon pollution. The move is expected to reduce the carbon footprint by 34 million metric tons.

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About Author

Frank Alexander is an experienced engineering professional who holds a Master of Engineering degree from North Carolina State University and an MBA from the University of South Carolina. Frank holds licenses in both residential and commercial HVAC, and holds a limited electrical license. Frank is also NATE certified.

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