Hansberger Refrigeration Blog: Your AC Repair Resource

Replacing Your Furnace Motor: ECM or PSC?

Replacing Your Furnace Motor: ECM or PSC?Furnace motors are typically available in two different types, the older PSC style and the newer ECM models. If you are considering a furnace motor replacement or a completely new furnace in the near future, it is helpful to understand the differences between the two.


Short for permanent split capacitor, the PSC motor has only one speed, which means that airflow in your home can only be controlled by turning the furnace motor and the blower fan on or off. This has a few advantages, including:

  • Lower cost, due to the simplicity of the design
  • Mature and proven technology
  • Simple control system
  • Lifespan of 40,000 to 50,000 hours

On the other hand, the hard starts and stops of the PSC motor lead to increased noise, higher maintenance requirements and a shorter lifespan than ECM models.


An ECM or electronically commutated motor is designed to offer multiple speeds, allowing the motor to start slow and speed up when it is first turned on, and giving it the ability to match its speed to the output requirements of the furnace. This can save energy when the full speed of the motor is not required, and it allows the motor to run continuously at slower speeds, instead of constantly cycling on and off. Some of the benefits of the ECM over the standard PSC motor include:

  • Reduced noise due to the variable-speed technology
  • Less energy usage when operating at slower speeds
  • Better comfort with more even temperatures than a PSC motor
  • Improved air filtration with constant flow of air at slower speeds
  • Lower maintenance requirements due to the softer starts and stops
  • Longer lifespan of approximately 90,000 hours

Compared to the PSC motor, however, an ECM will cost significantly more, though the higher initial investment can often be earned back with long-term energy savings.

For more information about choosing a furnace motor replacement, talk to our heating and cooling professionals at Hansberger Refrigeration and Electric Company. We are a family-owned company that has been providing HVAC, refrigeration and electrical services to the Yuma area since 1952.

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 motors and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Guide or call us at 928-723-3183.

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