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Fans, Pumps and Motors

Fans, pumps and motors are an integral part of many sectors including the agricultural, government, campus and manufacturing sectors. When they are operating, they are often overlooked until catastrophic failure requires an unplanned replacement. This can be not only costly from a capital perspective, but also long-term when lower efficiency, over- or under-sized or improperly controlled equipment is installed and costs more to operate for the life of the equipment.

Need to save some energy costs now? Do an inventory of all your fans, pumps and motors, lubricate and clean them and their housings, checking belts for both wear and tension. Make sure air vents aren’t blocked for cooling or make-up air and that seals are tight on your pumps. Once you document what you have in use, you can better prepare for upgrades or replacement when needed.

Should I replace it? Is your equipment properly sized for the load? Motors need to be running at least at 75% of their capacity or higher to be most efficient. Pumps or fans need to be matched to the most frequent expected load levels (not the highest) for the fluid you’re moving. If you have equipment not matching your needs, you should calculate for payback. You can also consider adding better controls.

Can I improve what I have? If it’s a motor made before 1990, likely you will find savings with a newer motor – especially if you can add a variable frequency drive (VFD). Fans and pumps can also be controlled with VF technologies. In the proper application, VFDs adjust fan, motor or pump speed to match the work being performed, reducing energy consumption. Some systems – such as those that need to operate in on/off mode – can’t benefit from a VFD. VFDs also act as a soft start, extending the life of a motor. If your utility bills for demand, the installation of stepped start controls may also help save demand spikes on your electric utility bills. Automated controls also allows better tracking of production, actual load, and more, allowing you to have more ability to adjust your processes for energy savings.

Where can I learn more? By implementing best management practices for motor, pump, and fan systems through the use of the U.S. Department of Energy's software tools, trainings, and publications, you will see major energy and cost savings US DOE Fans Pumps Motors.