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department of energy regulartions

New regulations from the Department of Energy

By | Furnaces

Happy New Year Miami Valley!

As we previously mentioned in this blog, The Department of Energy (DOE) has required that all blower fans be transitioned to new more energy efficient models featuring a Electronically Commutated Motor (ECM) that meet the new Fan Energy Rating (FER).  The purpose of these new regulations is to decrease energy consumption.  The new FER standards reduce energy use by up to 46%. For more information on FER regulations visit: https://www.regulations.gov/document?D=EERE-2010-BT-STD-0011-0117

What does that mean for you?

Most of the models we have been offering for the past few years were already in compliance. However, the standard models with old PSC motors will see the biggest change.  The new ECM motors come with more energy saving but higher prices as well for the standard lineup.  That energy savings will reduce carbon pollution by up to 34 million metric tons through the year 2030.

Types of FER Compliant Motors

Variable-Speed Constant Airflow (VCA) ECM Motor.

Offered in our Deluxe and Ultimate Comfort product offerings, these types of motors provide constant airflow, which allows for maximum comfort levels for your home or business. Available in modulating or two-stage heat configurations, which allows for maximum utility savings. They are also the best at humidity control as well.

Variable-Speed Constant Torque (VCT)ECM Motor

Offered in out Improved Comfort product offerings, these types of motors use the control board to control the variable speed motor at various torques. They provide better comfort as they still can move the air constantly. They are offered in single-stage or two-stage heating configurations.

Fixed-Speed Constant Torque (FCT) ECM Motor

Offer in our Standard product offerings, these types of motors have one speed for heating and cooling. The fan is constantly on to provide better comfort than the old PSC motors.

Can we still get an old PSC Motor furnace?

As of this post there are very few left to offer. The changeover is almost complete and we expect that by the end of winter there will no longer be PSC motor furnaces available. PSC motors will still be available as replacement parts for a long time.

Want to learn more? Contact us today!

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hauck brothers ready for winter

Are you ready for Winter?

By | Furnaces, Heating, Humidifiers

Let’s talk about comfort in the fall and winter for the Miami Valley in regards to heat and humidity. According to the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) and the Building America (BA) Climate Zones, the Miami Valley sits on the border of Mixed-Humid and Cold BA Zone and the border of 4 and 5 IECC Climate Zone. What does that mean to you? A cold climate is defined as a region with between 5,400 and 9,000 heating degree days (65°F basis). The Building America cold climate corresponds to the IECC climate zones 5 and 6. A mixed-humid climate is defined as a region that receives more than 20 inches (50 cm) of annual precipitation, has approximately 5,400 heating degree days (65°F basis) or fewer, and where the average monthly outdoor temperature drops below 45°F (7°C) during the winter months. The Building America mixed-humid climate zone includes the portions of IECC zones 4 and 3 in category A above the “warm humid” line. In short, we experience high heat and high humidity for a few weeks per summer and extreme cold with low humidity a few weeks per winter.

energy.gov climate regionsHow does that relate to you and how comfortable you are at home or work? The HVAC system in your home or office should be designed to handle your heating and cooling needs at all times of the year, no matter the weather, no matter the season. According to Merriam-Webster, comfort can be defined as “contented well-being, a feeling of relief, and a satisfying or enjoyable experience.” When we refer to comfort in HVAC we refer to Thermal Comfort. Thermal Comfort refers to ASHRAE Standard 55, which establishes the ranges of indoor environmental conditions that are acceptable are about 67°F to 82° and is achieved by accounting for a combination of factors. Those six factors are metabolic rate, clothing insulation, air temperature, radiant temperature, air speed, and humidity. Your HVAC System should be designed by a professional to account for these facts.

In the Miami Valley, we focus more on heating than cooling. Furnaces are sold as single stage, two stage, and modulating variable speed. Last year we talked about those options, click here to view. With modulating, variable speed furnaces the fan is always on. Don’t worry, the fan uses as much electricity as a 100-watt light bulb over the course of a year. By having the fan on the furnace changes its speed and slows down the airflow through the system. This allows for precise temperature control throughout the building and increased comfort as the air is constantly moving. This also allows the HVAC system to do a tremendous job at dehumidification during the cooling season and with a humidifier, better humidification during the heating season. This also means your air is running through the air purification system and removing more dust, allergens, and contaminants.

Modulating variable speed furnaces are also more efficient than single stage and even two stage options. They meet the qualifications for Energy Star and qualify for most utility company rebates. Let’s not forget about other sources of heat as well. Oil furnaces have models available with variable speed blowers that improve the overall comfort while being more energy efficient. Heat Pumps have models available with variable speed and two stage operation, this includes ductless models as well. Boilers have models with modulating gas valves. Electric Furnaces or Fan Coils have options available with variable speed and multi-speed blowers. In short, whatever your home or business heating and cooling needs may be, we have options that will improve your overall comfort.

Want to learn more? Contact us today!

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furnaces

Gas Furnace Manufacturer Notice

By | Furnaces, Heating

As of 7/3/2019 manufacturers of gas furnaces are no longer able to make units with Permanent Split Capacitor (PSC) motors. Electronically Commutated Motors (ECM) motors are now required in all new manufactured furnaces. The furnace fan uses electricity to circulate air heated or cooled through a buildings ductwork system and into the occupied space. ECMs feature two modes of operation; constant airflow within the system or constant torque on the motor.

The Department of Energy (DOE) has mandated a new minimum fan energy rating (FER) standard. Read about it here. DOE also estimates that for products sold over 30 years (2017-2046), the proposed standards will reduce energy consumption nationwide by about 500 billion kilowatt hours, an amount equal to the annual electricity use of about 47 million U.S. households, and will save consumers $29 billion. The energy savings from the new standards will translate to reductions in CO2 emissions of about 180 million metric tons.

What does this mean to the consumer?
The ECM motor driven furnaces can save you money in heating and cooling costs by up to 75%. ECM motors have less moving parts and generally last more than double the lifespan of PSC motors. Your comfort level will be improved as ECM fans can use slower speed to better treat the air. The air quality will also be improved by the more constant airflow through the filtration system. The only downside is that the initial cost for a standard furnace will likely increase when the changeover occurs.

When will they be available?
Most models of furnaces already had a ECM motor, the standard level of furnace is the only models adapting the new standards. Although manufacturers can no longer make new standard units with PSC motors, there are still plenty of old models to go through before this changeover occurs. Stay posted as we at Hauck Bros., Inc. transition over to the new furnaces, we will let you now when the old PSC motors are done with.

DIY

  • Check to make sure the furnace pilot light is on, if not lit re-light according the manufacturer owners manual.
  • Make sure all return and supply registers are clean and unobstructed.
  • Make sure to check and change or clean the air filter, on some models at least once a month.
  • Make sure the area around the furnace is clear of debris and combustible materials.
  • Check your thermostat and turn to heat to make sure it comes on.
  • Check to make sure your Oil or Liquid Propane tanks are full. Generally, they are cheaper to fill during the cooling season than the heating season.

Service

With normal maintenance and care, furnaces can last over 20 years!  Our experienced technicians can help you maintain the life of your equipment by performing a Home Comfort Protection Plan check on your furnace. Some inspections the technician will perform are checking the air filter, blower motor, blower wheel, transformer, gas leaks, flame sensor, thermostat, and more!

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