As we’ve discussed many times before on the BelRed Energy Solutions blog, it’s extremely important to know what different appliances, systems and areas of your home require and use the most energy. This knowledge can allow a savvy homeowner to make smart upgrades to their home that save energy and money and make things much more comfortable in their home.

It’s no secret that furnaces can be one of the biggest energy users in the home. In this blog, we take a look at a few ways having to do to with furnace fans that can be a big factor in much of this high energy usage.

Furnace fans circulate air from the furnace or heat pump to different rooms in a home through that home’s duct system. In the winter months, this fan is on for a large percent of the day and night, pumping necessary 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 is the portion of the furnace that needs the most energy to run, requiring about 12 percent of the average home’s electricity. For homes with central air, heating and cooling costs and energy requirements for the furnace fan are about the same.

Of course, the easiest way to ensure you aren’t wasting a lot of energy being consumed by your furnace fan, 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 less wasted energy.

Fortunately, you don’t have to wait until you can afford to purchase a whole new furnace in order to get the most efficiency out of your furnace fan. Evergreen motors, called ECM motors, can be installed directly onto existing furnaces, making the energy savings process much faster, easier and more cost efficient than full furnace replacements. The efficient motors replace the need for older PSC heating and cooling motors. With just a simple fan upgrade by a professional like BelRed, many existing furnaces can realize an electricity savings of 30-50%!

If you’re interested in finding out if your furnace fan is hogging a lot of electricity and adding to your home energy bills, call us today for a free consultation. We can also provide a comprehensive home performance assessment to help identify other areas of cost-efficient improvement for your home.

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