Furnace Fans


Furnace fans use electricity to circulate air heated by the furnace through a home’s duct system into the living space. For homes with central air conditioning, the furnace fan also serves to circulate air during the cooling season. 


In 2014, DOE established the first national efficiency standards for furnace fans. The new standards, which will take effect in 2019, specify a maximum fan energy rating (FER) that varies based on the airflow provided by the furnace fan. FER is expressed in terms of power consumption (W) per delivered airflow (1000 cfm) and incorporates energy consumption in three different modes: heating, cooling, and constant circulation. The standards will reduce the energy consumption of furnace fans by about 40%.

DOE 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.


Furnace fans are among the largest users of electricity in a typical household, consuming about 1000 kWh of electricity per year on average, or nearly 10% of an average household’s electricity use. The efficiency of furnace fans can be significantly improved by using brushless permanent magnet motors, which are much more efficient than typical permanent split capacitor (PSC) motors.

Savings through what year?: 2048
Energy saved (quads): 3.99
CO2 savings (million metric tons): 180.6
Net present value savings ($billion) 3% discount rate: 28.8
Net present value savings ($billion) 7% discount rate: 10.0


Federal Date States
Potential Effective Date of Updated Standard 2025
Updated DOE Standard Due 2022
1st Federal Standard Effective 2019
1st Federal Standard Adopted (DOE) 2014
Test Procedure - Last Revised - Active Mode 2014
2007 MD Standard Adopted
2006 NH Standard Adopted
2006 VT Standard Adopted
EPACT Initial Federal Legislation Enacted 2005
2005 MA Standard Adopted
2005 RI Standard Adopted

States not showing an effective date have an ongoing rulemaking process to determine standards.

Timeline reflects state standards from 2001 to present; federal standards from inception to present.