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ECM Motors by Nidec U.S. Motors

A guide to explain EC motors and how they work, save energy, and are reliable and cost-effective for HVAC systems

Reliability and Longevity – The Strength of ECM Motors

Efficiency. Savings. Adaptability.

Controls Central | November 2023

Staying ahead of the curve is essential for HVAC technicians and professionals.

One of the biggest improvements in recent years is using Electronically Commutated Motors (ECM) in heating and cooling systems, with leading manufacturers like Nidec U.S. Motors at the forefront of this innovation. 


This guide will explain EC motors and how they work, save energy, and are reliable and cost-effective for HVAC systems. So, let's dive into the world of ECM motors and uncover why they, along with industry leaders like Nidec U.S. Motors, are transforming the HVAC industry. 

EC motors, sometimes referred to as brushless DC (BLDC) or DC motors, are a game-changer in the HVAC world, and HVAC professionals love them. These motors offer high efficiency, easy control, low operating temperatures, extended lifespan, quiet operation, and superior controllability compared to traditional AC motors. 

Let's Take a Closer Look at How They Operate: 

  • Electronic Control: EC motors feature an electronic module that plays a pivotal role in their operation. This module converts incoming AC voltage into DC current, as EC motors essentially function as DC motors. It also receives input from the thermostat, enabling precise control over the motor's speed. 

  • Variable Speed Operation: One of the standout features of EC motors is their ability to operate at variable speeds. EC motors can adjust their speed based on signals from a thermostat or control board. This allows them to match the heating or cooling requirements of the system. This fine-tuned control not only ensures optimal performance but also leads to significant energy savings. 

Energy Savings When Converting to ECM Technology 

The energy efficiency of EC motors is a game-changer for HVAC systems. Here's why: 

  • Impressive Efficiency: EC motors can achieve system efficiencies of up to 85-90%, significantly higher than PSC motors. Being able to control motor speed precisely allows them to operate at the right speed, reducing energy waste. 

  • Variable Speed Control: EC motors can seamlessly adapt to changing conditions, adjusting their speed as needed. This dynamic response to the system's requirements not only conserves energy but also extends the motor's lifespan. 

  • Customization: Manufacturers can program ECMs to operate at specific speeds tailored to the equipment they use. This level of customization ensures peak performance and efficiency, which you can't get with with PSC motors. 

EC motors are great because they can run at slow speeds, which is perfect for things like keeping the air clean indoors. In contrast, PSC motors are not as effective at running at slow speeds. If you require highly accurate control at low speeds, it is recommended to use ECMs. 

When it Comes to Reliability, ECM Motors Shine 

  • Built-In Surge Protection: EC motors have built-in 6,000 Volt surge protection, ensuring they can withstand power fluctuations and voltage spikes. This surge protection is a crucial safeguard for the motor's longevity and overall system reliability. 

  • Industry-Leading Moisture Protection: EC motors also feature industry-leading moisture protection, which is essential for maintaining their reliability in various HVAC environments. 

Cost of EC Motors vs. OEM Replacements 

  • Long-Term Savings: While the initial investment in EC motors may be higher than PSC motors or OEM replacements, the long-term savings in energy costs and reduced maintenance make them a cost-effective choice. 

  • Energy Efficiency Incentives: Some utility companies offer incentives for upgrading to energy-efficient EC motors, further offsetting the initial cost. 

  • Extended Lifespan: EC motors often have a longer lifespan than PSC motors, reducing the need for frequent replacements and associated costs. 

The Flexibility of EC Motors is a Significant Benefit. 

  • Easy to Swap: EC motors are made to replace lots of different OEM ECM motors. This means technicians can carry just a few ECM motors in their trucks and be ready to replace many types of OEM motors. 

RESCUE Select Pro™ – Rescue Motor's Integrated Bluetooth® Technology 

  • Integrated Bluetooth Technology: The RESCUE Select Pro Rescue motor has built-in Bluetooth technology. It does cool stuff like letting technicians customize how it works and check for problems in real-time. You can download the free RESCUE Select app from Google Play or the App Store. 

Upgrading an Old PSC Motor to ECM 

  • RESCUE EcoTech® ECM Upgrade: The RESCUE EcoTech motor offers a hassle-free ECM replacement for PSC blower motors. Its exclusive speed-control technology provides the efficiency of an ECM without complex wiring modifications. It drops into existing PSC direct drive blower applications, making the upgrade a snap. 

  • RESCUE Select Pro ECM Upgrade: The RESCUE SELECT Pro motor is an easily programmable and highly reliable ECM replacement for furnaces and air handlers. It replaces thousands of OEM models and offers integrated Bluetooth technology for enhanced control and diagnostics. 

  • RESCUE EZ13® and EZ16® ECM Upgrades: The RESCUE EZ13 (constant torque) and RESCUE EZ16 (16 pin variable speed) motors are universal ECM replacements for furnaces and air handlers, offering high-quality, dependable performance. They require no programming, making them a hassle-free solution for upgrading your HVAC system. 


Popular ECM Motors


ECM Blower Motor 

1/2 / 1/3 HP, 1075 / VAR SPD, 5632 
115/208-230 V, 60 & 50 HZ, 48Y  


RESCUE Select EZ13®
Universal ECM Replacement Blower Motor 

3/4 HP, 1075 / VAR SPD, 5642 
115/208-230 V, 60 & 50 HZ, 48Y 


Direct Drive Fan Motor 

1 HP, 1075 / VAR SPD, 5652 
115/208-230 V, 60 & 50 HZ, 48Y


Blower Motor 

1 / 1/3 HP, 1075 / VAR SPD, 5860 115/208-230 V, 60 & 50 HZ, 48Y 


Blower Motor
3/4 / 1/3 HP, 1075 / VAR SPD, 5861 
115/208-230 V, 60 & 50 HZ, 48Y 


Blower Motor 

1/2 / 1/3 HP, 1075 / VAR SPD, 5862 
115/208-230 V, 60 & 50 HZ, 48Y 


EZ16® Universal
ECM Replacement Blower Motor 

1/3 HP, 1075 / VAR SPD, 5863 
115/208-230 V, 60 & 50 HZ, 48Y 


Select Pro ECM Motor 

1/2 / 1/3 HP, 1075 / VAR SPD, 6633 
115/208-230 V, 60 & 50 HZ, 48Y 


RESCUE Select Pro™
Blower Motor

3/4 HP, 1075 / VAR SPD, 6643 
115/208-230 V, 60 & 50 HZ, 48Y 


RESCUE Select Pro™
Programmable Blower Motor

1 HP, 1075 / VAR SPD, 6653 
115/208-230 V, 60 & 50 HZ, 48Y 


Direct Drive Blower Motor

1/3 / 1/5 HP, 1075 / VAR SPD, 115/208-230 V, 60 & 50 HZ, 48Y 


RESCUE EcoTech Direct Drive
Blower Motor    

3/4 / 1/3 HP, 1075 / VAR SPD, 
115/208-230 V, 60 & 50 HZ, 48Y 


In conclusion, Electronically Commutated Motors (ECM) are changing the HVAC industry with their energy efficiency, variable speed control, customization, and reliability. As regulations like Fan Efficiency Rating (FER) drive the demand for more efficient HVAC equipment, EC motors are poised to become the standard choice. According to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), residential furnace fans manufactured on and after July 3, 2019, must have a fan energy rating (FER) value that meets or is less than the following values: 

  • Non-Weatherized, Non-Condensing Gas Furnace Fan (NWG-NC): FER = 0.044 × QMax + 182 

  • Non-Weatherized, Condensing Gas Furnace Fan (NWG-C): FER = 0.044 × QMax + 195 

QMax is the maximum airflow per installation instructions. The DOE regulations require that residential furnaces not only be designed to meet efficiency requirements for the gas input but also for the electrical input to the motor.  

Understanding the differences between ECM and traditional PSC motors is essential for HVAC professionals looking to stay competitive and offer the latest technology to their customers. EC motors offer a clear path to energy savings, reduced maintenance costs, and enhanced system performance. Embracing ECM technology is not just a smart choice; it's the future of HVAC. Upgrade to ECM motors today and unleash the power of efficiency in your HVAC systems. 



Discover the insights into Nidec US Motors through our engaging webinar.

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