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New DOE FER Standards Help Save Energy and Reduce Pollution

Find out what these new regulations mean and how they impact your gas furnace or gas packaged unit buying decision.

July 13, 2019

Unless you’re an HVAC professional, you probably missed the latest US Department of Energy (DOE) announcement concerning the new Fan Energy Rating (FER) for residential gas furnaces and gas packaged units. Not to worry, we’re here to help you make sense of the guidelines and explain what they mean for you as you look for a new furnace or packaged unit.

What is FER?

FER stands for Fan Energy Rating. FER is a federal regulation that sets a minimum airflow efficiency standard for residential furnace fans and gas packaged units. These new guidelines are in place to encourage energy efficiency and help the environment. As of July 3, 2019, all HVAC manufacturers must comply with the DOE’s FER standard when manufacturing new equipment.

Save energy and save the planet

Just like SEER ratings for air conditioners, AFUE ratings for furnaces, and HSPF ratings for heat pumps, the DOE sets minimum energy efficiency standards as a way to encourage energy conservation and reduce pollution. So just what will these new standards accomplish? The DOE predicts the new FER standards for furnace fans will*:

  • Save approximately 3.99 quads of energy.
  • Reduce carbon pollution by up to 34 million metric tons (equivalent to the electricity use of 4.7 million homes).
  • Save Americans more than 9 billion in home electric bills through 2030.

What is Trane doing in response to the new standards?

As an industry leader in home comfort energy efficiency and HVAC innovation, Trane has committed to making some efficiency-boosting alterations to our collection of furnaces as well as introduce new ones so you’re guaranteed to get the comfort and efficiency you deserve. Trane furnace enhancements include:

  • Upgrading our motor technology
    We’ve committed to better energy efficiency by upgrading our motor technology from PSC to ECM. A PSC, or permanent split capacitor, is a type of motor that is designed to only turn on and off. Because the motor operates at a constant speed, the use of energy is a constant and efficiency is lost. An ECM, or electronically commutated motor, has the ability to operate at many different speeds, allowing for better airflow efficiency over a PSC motor.
  • Utilizing Our Exclusive Vortica™ II Blower
    Our exclusive VorticaTM II blower design delivers airflow more efficiently and will be included with all of our new S-Series furnaces in order to help meet the FER standard.
  • Introducing new, energy-efficient furnace models
    In order to meet the new standards and give you the energy-efficient HVAC products you want, Trane is launching a new collection of furnaces that not only meet the new FER standards but also offer many great features over our legacy predecessors. Ask your dealer about these new models and their energy-efficient features.
  • Discontinuing legacy models that don’t meet the new standard
    Some legacy models were not able to be upgraded, so they’re being phased out and replaced with our new furnace models. These new models will offer similar, if not better, features and energy efficiency.

So why should you care about FER standards?

The short answer is that these new standards can help lower your energy bill. 

  • Our FER-compliant furnace takes 46% less power to run than a standard PSC furnace and that translates into lower utility costs. 
  • Energy savings will offset FER-compliant furnace cost increases in about 5 years**. 

One last tip

When buying a new furnace, energy efficiency should play a major role in your decision-making process. Of course, there are several factors and technical features that can affect a furnace’s overall efficiency. These factors, and the costs associated with each feature should be discussed with your local Trane dealer to get the best system for your home.

*Per DOE
**Per DOE’s evaluation of economic impacts, as measured by the average life-cycle cost (LCC) savings and the median payback period (PBP). Table 1.2 https

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