Replacing Your Furnace Motor: Choosing ECM or PSC

If you’re planning a furnace replacement and exploring your equipment options, one component worth investigating is the motor that moves the blower fan. Comparing the following two furnace motor replacement choices can help you pick a heating system that best suits your needs.

Permanent Split Capacitor Motor (PSC)

This is the type of blower motor in a standard HVAC system. A PSC motor has just one speed, so every time it’s trigger by the thermostat, it starts up and runs on high until the temperature setting is satisfied. The motor speed can’t be adjusted, so there’s no way to lower its energy consumption.

Electronically Commutated Motor (ECM)

An ECM motor is designed to run at a range of speeds, so the blower can push out varying amounts of conditioned air. ECM motors also start up slowly on the lowest speed, and ramp up only when extra capacity is called for to maintain comfort.

PSC vs. ECM Motors

Here are some important factors to consider when you’re comparing these two blower motor types:

  • Energy usage. An HVAC blower with a variable-speed ECM motor can use up to 75 percent less energy than one with a PSC motor.
  • Wear and maintenance. ECM motor bearings don’t require lubrication, and because the motor starts and stops softly and runs on low much of the time, it needs less maintenance than a PSC motor that endures more wear and tear and has a greater likelihood of overheating.
  • Temperature control. The variable-speed operation and longer cycles of an ECM motor provide better temperature and humidity control than the frequent maximum-speed cycles of a single-speed PSC unit.
  • Average lifespan. An ECM motor can last for up to 90,000 hours, while PSC motors have average lifespans of just 40,000–50,000 hours.
  • Air filtration. Because blowers with ECM motors run for longer cycles than those equipped with PSC units, they draw air through the HVAC system filter more often, so more debris gets removed from the air supply.

To learn more about the furnace motor replacement options available for your Middletown home, contact us at C.R. Wolfe Heating & Air Conditioning.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in Middletown, New York 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 845-367-4482.

Credit/Copyright Attribution: “feng-yu/Shutterstock”

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