Friday, October 31, 2014

DOE Small Motor Efficiency Standards for 2015

You may have missed the news about required small motor efficiency minimum standards while you were focused on refrigerant changes; regional efficiency standards for air conditioners, furnaces, and heat pumps; and trying to stay ahead of the latest news on climate change. I know I did. I was looking at the Grainger web site the other day and up popped a bulletin regarding the Department of Energy requirement that certain small electric motors 3 horsepower and under meet a new minimum efficiency requirement beginning in March, 2015. I immediately thought “oh bother,” that would include most of the motors we deal with in residential HVAC. Then I looked up some details and breathed a bit easier.  Motors which are exempt include multispeed, enclosed, specific purpose, or special mounting bracket. That just exempted most of the motors in residential air conditioning equipment. If you deal with regular mount, general purpose, 42, 48 or 56 frame capacitor start or capacitor start-run motors, you WILL be affected. An example might be ventilation fan motors. Grainger was not saying replacement motors would not be available, just that they would now have run capacitors and would be longer due to the extra windings required to meet the new efficiencies. Basically, this DOE ruling makes what was once the premium, high efficiency motors the minimum motor design for certain motor types defined by NEMA. I found several links with discussion and details on this requirement. They are listed below. You might want to take a look at some of these links to determine if you work with any of the affected motors. That way you can develop a replacement strategy before you get to a job and find that you will not be able to replace the old motor with another just like it.

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