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Central Air Conditioner Prices Change Due to New Rules

New federal regulations are going into effect likely to impact new central air conditioner prices as early as this summer. What do these regulations mean for Birmingham homeowners? Douglas Cooling & Heating shares more information about the new regulations and how they impact new cooling system upgrades.

New Regulations Affecting Fan Efficiency

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has placed into effect July 3rd new regulations impacting the energy efficiency level of furnace fans, known as the fan efficiency rating (FER) ruling. Newly manufactured systems must use electronically commutated motors, also known as ECMs. While ECMs were in use prior to the regulations, most furnaces utilize a standard induction motor, which offers a much lower efficiency level (typically between 60 and 65 percent).

What is the purpose of the new regulations? ECMs offer a much higher blower motor efficiency than standard induction motors, improving the overall energy efficiency of a home’s heating and cooling system.

What the New Regulations Mean for Central Air Conditioner Prices

The DOE expects the new fan efficiency rules to greatly impact HVAC energy efficiency in American homes. In most systems, cool air created by the cooling system circulates using the furnace’s blower motor.

It’s best to replace your indoor components (furnace or air handler) at the same time you replace your outdoor components (central air conditioner or heat pump). So, when you upgrade your cooling system, your heating equipment should be upgraded as well. In the HVAC industry, we call this a matched system. It means the entire HVAC system and its components are paired together for best energy efficiency and performance.

Therefore, central air conditioner prices will likely go up, as manufacturers expect price increases due to the new fan efficiency ratings. If you’re not ready to upgrade to ECM technology, you may repair your induction motor when called for, if possible. This is the more affordable upfront option, but you will not benefit from the drastic efficiency improvements that upgrading to an ECM provides.

Energy Savings Balance Higher Central Air Conditioner Prices

The initial investment will likely be higher to purchase new cooling equipment. The improved fan efficiency, however, will generate more energy savings for your Birmingham home. Through a reduction in energy consumption, systems using ECMs are also better for the environment.

The DOE anticipates the fan efficiency rating ruling to positively impact American households. With an ECM fan anticipate the following savings:

  • Energy savings of approximately 50 percent in the home
  • More than $9 billion in residential electricity savings through the year 2030
  • A total of 3.99 quads of energy saved
  • Approximately 34 million metric tons of carbon pollution eliminated

Experts expect the improved efficiency of an ECM to generate consumer savings between $340 and $500 over the component’s service life.

Ready to Get An Estimate? Call Douglas Cooling & Heating and Be Prepared

The new fan efficiency regulations impact Birmingham homeowners in improved energy efficiency as well as higher central air conditioner prices. Is an air conditioner upgrade the right move for your home? Douglas Cooling & Heating is happy to help determine if a new central air conditioner is right for your home. Contact us today to learn more.

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