Hansberger Refrigeration Blog: Your AC Repair Resource

Your Furnace Motor Replacement: ECM or PSC?

If you’re replacing your heating system this season, consider one that has a furnace ECM. An ECM (electronically commutated motor) saves electricity, runs quietly and improves your indoor comfort year-round. ECM is generally  the technology behind a variable-speed air handler or blower motor, but to be sure you get the full benefits of variable operating speeds, make sure it’s an ECM. 

Traditional furnace blowers and air handlers have PSC (permanent split capacitor) motors that are louder and use more Your Furnace Motor Replacement: ECM or PSC?electricity than an ECM. A PSC runs at a single high speed, may use brushes, and creates heat as it runs. While that’s not a concern in the winter, during the cooling season, that extra heat warms up the air in the air handler, something counterproductive when you’re trying to cool your home.

Other substantial benefits of the furnace ECM include:

  • Energy efficiency and improved comfort. PSC motors use approximately 500 watts per hour, compared to the ECM that uses just over 80 in the heating mode. Since the ECM isn’t short cycling with frequent hard start-ups, but usually running longer and slower, it uses less energy and provides more even cooling and heating.
  • Better air filtration. Since we have a year-round growing season, pollen can be a problem for allergy or asthma sufferers. Running the air handler at variable speeds – and most often at a slow, more continuous speed – helps remove airborne particulates such as dust, dust mite waste, pollen and pet dander. With its lower energy consumption, you won’t see a big increase in your electric bills.
  • Quiet operation. The furnace ECM runs much more quietly than a PSC motor. Almost all homes in the Yuma area have air handlers inside and your entire home will be quieter, an especially important characteristic for the family member whose bedroom is closest to the air handler.
  • Customized airflow. This is important if the furnace you choose has any variable features that alter the amount of heat produced based on your home’s heating needs.
  • Zoning compatible. If you decide to zone your home for increased comfort or lower energy bills, the ECM will adjust its running speed based on the need for conditioned air.

To learn more about a furnace ECM, please contact us at Hansberger Refrigeration & Electric Company. We’ve provided outstanding HVAC services for Yuma area homeowners since 1952.




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Our goal is to help educate our customers in Yuma, Arizona about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).  For more information about furnace motor replacement and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.

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