Energy efficiency remains a big concern for many businesses, and for good reason. In addition to being good for the environment and conserving natural resources, energy efficiency encourages job growth and innovation as we continue to build improvements. Of course, energy efficiency also saves you thousands of dollars each year as your electric bill dwindles — and electric motor efficiency can play a vital role in saving or costing you money.
The condition and efficiency of the electric motor in your home or business remains a significant factor in your overall energy efficiency. The US Department of Energy estimates that electric motors account for over half of the nation’s electricity use. Even more efficient motors can set you back up to $6000 a year in energy costs. With costs that high, savings become hugely important.
How To Tell If A Motor is Energy Efficient
An electric motor’s energy efficiency is judged based on the ratio of mechanical power output to electrical power output. Essentially, the performance of the motor should be close to the amount of electricity required to power it.
By law, motors manufactured after 1997 must meet certain efficiency standards. While motors still differ in efficiency based on the quality of the materials and the techniques used to manufacture it, newer motors must be more energy efficient than those of the past. If you have an old motor, it costs you more on your electric bill each month.
Of course, whether repairing an electric motor or buying a new electric motor a professional can help you determine the most energy-efficient option to make sure you save money on energy costs.
Can Rewinding Make An Old Motor Efficient?
Rewinding or repairing an electric motor represents a significantly smaller up-front cost. With a small budget, rewinding a failed motor may be the only option. A quality repair from a professional electric motor technician will also help improve or preserve your overall efficiency.
However, in certain circumstances simply upgrading your electric motor represents the most cost-effective option in the long run. Ask your experienced Fixall Electric Motor Service technician to perform energy efficiency tests to determine whether you should simply replace your old motor.
Upgrade your electric motor if it meets any of the following conditions:
- The motor is less than 40 horsepower
- The cost of the rewind represents more than 65% of the cost of a new motor
- The last motor rewind was before 1980
- Your technician finds your motor is not energy efficient
What Should I Consider When Buying a New Motor?
If you’ve chosen to purchase a new electric motor, knowing just what to look for seems overwhelming. After all, there are a lot of options to choose from — Fixall Electric Motor Service stocks over 5,000 motors and motor-related parts. Our knowledgeable staff can help you determine which motor will meet your needs. However, knowing how the following three factors affect energy efficiency will help you make the right choice.
- Motor Size. Many make the mistake of choosing a much larger motor than they actually need. An oversized motor will use far more energy than the job actually requires. Even in cases of peak loads, oversizing your motor is not necessary. In those extremes, alternative methods such as backing up a correctly sized motor with a pony motor are effective. Look for motors sized to suit a load factor between 65-100%.
- Operating Speed. When replacing your old motor, select a new one with a similar full-load speed. You should find operating speed stamped on the motor nameplate, labeled as “full-load rpm”. Every pump and fan has a set design speed. These are very sensitive to speed variations, and a change of as little as 5 rpm can dramatically impact its energy efficiency.
- Inrush Currents. Energy-efficient electric motor models feature low-electrical resistance. This means that they exhibit higher inrush currents than standard models. Avoid overloading circuits.
Now that you know the basics of energy efficiency in electric motors, you can make more informed decisions and start saving money. Of course, there is much more about energy efficiency that you can learn. The US Department of Energy provides this handy guide with more detailed information about purchasing an energy efficient electric motor.