A buddy of mine, Wayne, a contractor and HVAC instructor here on Long Island and I were having a conversation the other day and he asked why is Taco coming out with all of these new ECM motors? He understands that varying the speed of the circulator can save energy (fuel and electricity) and make homes more comfortable, but then again, the 007 ain’t broke and it has been doing a darn fine job since the 70’s and these new circs cost more.
Well, we (John Barba and I) have talked about the electrical and fuel savings that using a variable speed circulator can offer (see here and here). They show that the electrical savings of using a variable speed ECM motor is not tremendous and typically should not be sold or installed just for those merits if the homeowner is looking for HUGE electrical savings. Electrical savings are in the $15-20 a year per circulator over its 007 counterpart. ECM technology does use a lot less power to do the same amount of work, but it’s not life-changing savings.
So I asked Wayne, how many circs do you and your company change in a given winter? His average was around 150 total for 7 months. So if we take a look at that math, around $18 electrical savings per circ and with 150 circs, we have $2,700 in electrical savings. Think of the advertising that you can do. You saved your customers almost $3k in electrical costs in one year!
While we’re talking, what if another 10 companies that I can find here on the Island doing the same amount of replacements? Then we are saving Long Islanders around $27,000 in electrical costs alone from their heating systems. What if it was 100,000 circulators being replaced nationwide? Add in new installations also. That is some serious moolah there ……..$1.8 million.
Do you see where I am going here? ECM technology does good overall and if everyone were to switch, think of all electrical savings that could occur nationwide. Remember a few years ago when CFL bulbs came out? Lots of people thought they were a great idea, but the cost was so much higher than an incandescent bulb and lots of people just bypassed the purchase. It was savings, but it was not life-changing savings. Then the government got involved and as we see today, the incandescent bulb is setting-up like the way of the do-do bird! ECM technology is also being closely watched by the government (state and federal) as well as the electric companies. There will be a day that we will see the last “00” roll off the assembly line!
Now there is the other side of installing ECM variable speed circs like the 00-VDT, the BumbleBee, the VT-2218 and the VR-1816 (the two latter just unveiled at the AHR show in Chicago!) Stay tuned for future posts as I get into those benefits!