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The Changing Industry: Understanding the Rise of ECM

Electronically Commuted Motors (ECMs) were first introduced to the HVAC industry in 1987, but PSC motors have continued to be the industry standard - until just recently.

The industry took a major step toward more efficient HVAC equipment in 2006 with the implementation of the SEER 13 regulation. This required that all HVAC equipment sold had to meet the SEER 13 standard regardless of where it was purchased in the United States. The energy savings from this act increased the efficiency of air conditioners and heat pumps by 30%.

The next major change came in 2015, when the DOE abandoned the "one-size-fits-all" approach to energy efficiency. They were realizing that equipment performed differently depending on what region it was in, and holding all equipment to the same standard wasn't realistic. On January 1st, 2015 the country was split into three regions - North, South, and Southwest - each with its own efficiency standards.

More recently though there's been a shift in the way regulatory agencies are viewing efficiency. In the past, it was about how much heat was removed during the combustion process or how much air was being circulated. But in 2019, the amount of electricity consumed would also be considered and regulated. Starting on July 3rd, 2019 furnaces and HVAC equipment not meeting the new fan energy rating (FER) standard ceased production.

So what do all these changes and regulations have to do with ECMs?

For years now the HVAC industry has been making strides to be more energy efficient, and the best way to achieve that is by improving the motors on equipment. PSC motors operate at about 40% - 60% efficiency - which ultimately means the homeowner or end user is wasting money and electricity operating the equipment. ECMs typically operate at 80% efficiency, which is far better!

Implementing ECMs into HVAC equipment results in a more efficient piece of equipment, less waste, and more money saved for the end user. With new regulations, the tide is shifting and soon PSC motors will be phased out entirely, replaced by the more efficient ECM.

This is not a possibility - but an inevitability.

To learn more about how you can stay ahead of these industry curves, reach out to your Pinnacle Product Sales rep!


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