What You Need to Know About PSC and ECM Motors for Your Minneapolis Furnace

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There are a lot of changes to furnaces this year in Minneapolis. The change from Freon to Puron was the biggest one so far, but now there is a change from PSC motors to ECM motors. The blower motor in your furnace is what moves the heated air in your furnace to the rest of your home. It is set off by the thermostat to add more warm air to your home to get it to the temperature that you programmed in. The two separate motors are have different ways of getting the air to the rest of your home. The mandatory for manufacturers was July of 2019, so all new furnaces will have ECM motors. What does that mean for your home? Is it for your advantage? We want to reassure you that ECM motors are the new way to go with these simple explanations of the situation.


PSC Motors

PSC stands for permanent split capacitor. Its design only allows for two modes on the motor itself, on and off. When your thermostat kicks in, the motor will turn on for a time, then turn off when the house has reached its programmed temperature. While it is on, it only has one speed to circulate air into your home, which can cause issues with your home’s energy efficiency.

ECM Motors

ECM stands for electronically commutated motor. It is designed to change speeds as your home needs it. Some brands of ECM motors have two speeds, while others have variable speeds to match what your home needs. Your thermostat records the temperature of the room to inform the motor which speed warmer air should be sent into the home to maintain the desired temperature. It might seem like this would be less efficient for your home because it is switched on longer than a PSC motor, but the opposite is true.


Energy Efficiency

ECM motors are around 30% more efficient than PSC motors, which is why there is such a big push for ECM motors. The energy usage doesn’t come from when the motors are already on, but when they are starting up. When you turn on an overhead fan, it starts slow and works up to the speed it’s programmed for. Your furnace motor works in a similar way, using more energy to get itself to the speed it is needed at and keeps the rhythm while it is on, using less energy. A PSC motor turns on and off more frequently because it only has one speed. An ECM motor only reduces its speed and using less energy to start back up again to heat your home. That is how you can save energy by switching to an ECM motor. In turn, it can also save you money on your energy bills.

Furnaces are a big part of your Minnesota home, and we want to help you make the most of it. At Twin City Heating and Air, we encourage the best solutions for your home and save you money. If you have a Lennox furnace, we have rebates available through the fall. Contact us to learn more about how you can save.