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Replacing the Furnace Motor: ECM or PSC

Trenton AC & Heating Service

If you’re considering replacing your furnace in the near future, you’ve got a variety of different options you can choose from. One option that can greatly affect energy efficiency is the furnace’s blower motor.

There are two main choices when it comes to furnace motor replacement: PSC or ECM. We’ll discuss the differences between the two motors and look at the benefits of each.

First, a brief overview: the furnace blower motor is the part of the furnace that moves the heated air into your ducts. It is also one of the main energy users in the furnace system.

PSC (Permanent Split Capacitor)

A PSC motor is an “old style” motor that does two things:

  1. It turns on
  2. It turns off

The main benefit of a PSC motor is that it costs less upfront than an ECM motor. However, as we’ll see in the next section, there are some hidden costs to consider.

ECM (Electronically Commutated Motor)

In the world of furnace motor replacement, ECM is definitely the rising star. Unlike a PSC motor that’s either on or off, an ECM uses variable speeds to help increase energy efficiency.

One of the main ways an ECM uses less energy is during start-up. ECMs are typically programmed to start up slowly, gradually increasing speed until they reach the speed needed to maintain the thermostat’s set temperature. This draws less energy than a hard start-up at full speed.

Comparing Upfront Cost vs. Hidden Costs

As mentioned above, ECMs are the higher-priced option when purchasing, but the energy savings are one way that they can actually end up saving you money. An ECM has an expected efficiency of up to 75%, while PSC motors only have a 45% efficiency.

ECMs also have a longer life expectancy with fewer maintenance issues. A PSC motor’s hard start and stop wears it out faster. An ECM has an expected lifespan of roughly 10 years, while a PSC motor only has an expected lifespan of eight years.

For more information about furnace motor replacement or any other HVAC issues in the Hamilton area, contact Elite Air today.


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