Advanced Controls for Residential HVAC Fan

installing HVAC equipment

Update: April 2023

The project team is approximately halfway through the data collection process, having completed heating season data collection with cooling season data collection upcoming. They installed the device and instrumentation at 25 sites, more sites than nearly any other field study that CEE has conducted. To process this unprecedented quantity of data, the project team established a new automated process for data management that can be replicated for other large-scale data projects in the future.

Update: January 2022 

This project has two field phases: an assessment phase to collect data from 50–60 homes and an installation phase during which the project team will select approximately 30 sites from the assessment pool to install the fan control device and performance monitoring equipment. The project is nearing completion of the assessment phase and beginning to select sites for field installation.


Past field research in Minnesota has shown that many HVAC systems do not reach the same level of efficiency in the field that they reach under laboratory and rating conditions. One opportunity to boost real-world performance and recapture some of the lost efficiency in residential systems occurs during the post-purge cycle. Some heating or cooling energy remains in the heat exchanger at the end of each burner or compressor cycle. Innovative controllers have been introduced that modify fan operation to distribute more of this energy to the house, increasing system efficiency while maintaining comfort.

This project will research the energy savings potential of a fan control device designed to reclaim HVAC losses by extending post-purge times, as well as research the market for such a product. Researchers will assess residential HVAC market and installation feasibility as well as develop a selection and diagnostic tool. Finally, analysis of monitored data from installed systems will be used to determine the energy savings, carbon reductions, and cost-effectiveness.

Project Summary


This field study will measure the savings potential and characterize the market for a commercially available fan controller to increase the efficiency of residential heating and cooling systems.


  • Task 1: Establish project methodology
  • Task 2: Market characterization
  • Task 3: Field assessment Task 4: Model development
  • Tasks 5 & 6: Field monitoring and evaluation
  • Task 7: Assessment and analysis
  • Task 8: Dissemination of findings

Non-energy benefits

  • Utility bill savings
  • Reduced greenhouse gas emissions