Replacing Your Furnace Motor: Deciding Between ECM and PSC

Replacing Your Furnace Motor: Deciding Between ECM and PSC

Furnace motor replacement presents an opportunity for improvement. Both your heating costs as well as the comfort level inside your home can benefit by upgrading from an outmoded PSC unit to an ECM furnace blower motor.

It’s a good bet that the motor inside your existing furnace blower is a PSC (permanent split capacitor) type. Though it was the standard for decades, PSC motors had two major drawbacks:

  • Excessive electrical consumption. Your furnace may be gas-fired, but an outmoded PSC blower motor may consume 500 watts of electricity or more while the system’s running. This represents a substantial contribution to your electric bill.
  • On/off operation. A PSC blower delivers 100% output when it turns on and zero percent output when the system cycles off. On/off operation means hot air surges into rooms under full output when the furnace cycles on and temperatures spike uncomfortably, often several degrees above the thermostat setting. When the system cycles off again, output drops to zero and rooms rapidly cool and become chilly again. These yo-yo temperature swings degrade indoor comfort and make living spaces usually too warm or too cold.

Here’s why furnace motor replacement with a new ECM unit is better:

  • Short for electronically commutated motor, ECM technology sips electricity instead of guzzling it. Upgrading to an ECM blower will cut furnace electrical consumption from 500 watts down to about 80 watts, substantially reducing the load on your monthly utility bill.
  • Indoor temperatures are more consistent. An ECM unit is programmed to run almost continuously across a variable range of speeds keyed to heating requirements. As the furnace cycles on, the blower gently circulates a low volume of air to avoid the “blast furnace” effect in rooms, gradually ramping up to higher output to meet the thermostat setting. ECM circulation then declines to lower volume sufficient to continuously maintain the temperature at a very consistent, accurate level. Temperature spikes and sags associated with on/off PSC motors are eliminated, indoor comfort is enhanced and electric costs drop.

For professional advice about upgrading to an ECM furnace motor replacement, contact Roth Heating & Cooling.

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