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Home heating makes up a sizeable chunk of your electricity bill. Here’s how choosing an energy-efficient forced-air system can lower your heating costs year after year.

What's an Electronically Commutated Motor?

Whether you heat with oil, electricity, natural gas or propane, your furnace has an electric blower motor that circulates warm air throughout your home. This motor uses a significant amount of electricity to operate. For example, in a standard gas furnace, the motor can account for up to 80% of total furnace electricity consumption.

Older furnaces likely have a standard Permanent Split Capacitor (PSC) motor – a type of Alternating Current motor with only one speed. This means that any time your furnace fan is running, it’s blowing at full force.

Permanent Split Capacitor Motor (on/off) versus Electronically Commutated Motor (variable)

Electronically Commutated Motors (ECMs), on the other hand, are Direct Current motors designed to run at a range of speeds, making them ideal for delivering airflow more efficiently. ECMs start more smoothly than PSC motors and adjust their speed according to your home’s temperature, reducing drastic temperature swings from chilly to toasty warm.

While furnaces equipped with ECMs may run more frequently, the different motor speeds enable the fan to start more slowly and run more consistently – instead of turning on and off abruptly, which consumes more electricity.

The result? Lower electricity consumption.
An ECM can lower your overall home heating costs year after year, from 13% to as much as 25%.

What kind of blower motor do I have?

Unless your furnace is relatively new, it’s likely you have a PSC motor, which was the industry standard for many years.

Coffee in mug on wooden table, in front of couch end with socked feet and open book

Warm up to the benefits of ECMs

Lower energy usage

ECMs consume substantially less electricity than single-speed motors – as much as 75% less.

Improved air quality

Because ECMs cycle more consistently, air circulates through the filter more frequently.

More even temperatures

By cycling at a low, gentle output, ECMs keep temperatures more stable and more comfortable.

Quieter operation

With a lower noise level and no abrupt starts and stops, ECMs make your home more peaceful.

Longer lifespan

ECMs routinely last up to 90,000 hours, compared to older PSC motors, which have a lifespan of up to 50,000 hours.

Get paid to upgrade

Oil, electric, natural gas and propane furnaces qualify for a rebate

Get $250 back when you upgrade to a new high-efficiency furnace with an ECM. Work with a participating contractor to purchase and install your new equipment.

Find a contractor near you

See more heating and cooling rebates
Cozy cat

Heat with hot water radiators?

Save up to 80% in circulator pump energy use

You have a hydronic heating system if you heat your home with hot water:

  • radiators;
  • floor or ceiling radiant tubing; or
  • baseboards

It’s a fact: 99% of pumps in hydronic heating systems are inefficient.

Used in Europe for years, circulator pumps with ECMs are gaining popularity in North America thanks to their ability to cycle on and off automatically, significantly increasing energy efficiency and reducing water use.

Get $30 off a new ECM circulator pump

Must be installed on an existing hydronic heating system and have a variable-speed ECM.

Find a contractor near you
Your Essential Home Heating Guide

Stay warm while keeping costs under control with this handy Home Heating Guide.

Go to the guide