Appliances and systems within the home can use a lot of energy. Some of these may not be top of mind when it comes to using the most energy. For example, everyday electronics such as smart phones (when charging) and set top boxes can sometimes use more energy than medium sized refrigerators! Other appliances are thought of first when the topics of energy usage and savings are brought up, like the home’s furnace.


Many homes have older or inefficient furnaces that use a ton of energy—perhaps more than any other system in the average house. One reason for the high-energy usage requirements for furnaces is because of the furnace fan, which is often on most months of the year in the average home with central heating and air conditioning.


Furnace fans circulate air from the furnace, heat pump or air conditioner to different rooms in the home through the duct system. In the winter months, this fan is on for a large percent of the time, pumping warm air throughout the house. In homes with central air, cool air is pushed through the house using the same system, which means many homeowners require their furnace fan to be on for most of the year. Unfortunately, the furnace fan use up to 12 percent of the average home’s electricity!


Of course, the easiest way to ensure your furnace fan isn’t wasting a lot of energy, aside from changes in behavior, is installing a new furnace with a variable speed (ECM – Electronically Commutated Motor) fan. Newer, energy-efficient furnaces have fans that require much less energy to run. In typically older furnaces, as much as 20-30% of the energy produced can be wasted due to inefficiencies with the unit. At the top of the list of inefficiencies is the furnace fan. Variable speed fans (with brushless magnetic motors) are quieter, use substantially less energy, and can provide better comfort than traditional furnace fans. These fans, also known as “smart fans” adjust their energy usage based on varying heating or cooling needs in the home, resulting in better comfort and less wasted energy.


So, are we forced to just put up with high-energy use by furnace fans until we replace the entire furnace unit? Not necessarily. Fortunately, you have an option when it comes to making sure you have an efficient furnace fan without full replacement and installation of a new energy efficient model. Evergreen motors, which are replacement ECM motors, can be installed directly onto existing furnaces, making energy savings much faster, easier and less expensive than full furnace replacements. While you won’t have any better gas efficiency, many existing furnaces can realize an electricity savings of 30-50%. This process, of course, has been saving people a great deal of money on their energy bill.


As always, the best way to save energy is to understand and reduce your energy usage behavior. Beyond that, the solutions of having a new furnace or replacement ECM motor fan added onto an existing furnace can both save a lot of energy and money. If you’re wondering how much you may save by installing a new fan, click here to find out. If you like what you see, feel free to contact us today to see how we can help with this upgrade and lead you down the path to energy and money savings!