What most Winnipeg Heating Companies will not tell you.
The latest and so called greatest advances in energy savings with high efficient gas furnaces are promoted to save homeowners on both natural gas and electrical consumption. While gas saving can be achieved and proven to show a good ROI, it is not near as beneficial on the electrical savings for Winnipeg homeowners for 2 main reasons.
- Hydro utility rates in Manitoba have and will likely be for some time lower than most other parts of the country. Quebec and Manitoba both for years have been generating and exporting Electrical power and maintaining preferred consumer rates within its borders.
- The fact that ECM (electrically commutated motor) technology is strictly licensed and not likely to reach beyond a controlled unit specific application. Furnace manufacturers have no worries of universal replacement components coming on stream and competing with lower pricing.
We are now starting to see more and more failed ECM motors that are out of warranty and the repair costs are almost always a shock to homeowners. The profitability becomes almost impossible for even reputable furnace repair companies that can no longer stock replacement motors to service their customer’s needs.
Having to make an after-hours trip to the supplier or set up temporary heaters while a motor gets shipped in and programmed is not uncommon these days. Providing a temporary conversion to a PSC motor(old style) till a new ECM motor becomes available is an expensive alternative that is not covered by any factory warranty and is an unreasonable expense to pass on to the homeowner.
For this reason alone, Tradesman Heating and Cooling will always include a 10 yr parts and Labour warranty with any new furnace installation where an ECM motor is included.
The following is re-posted from one of my past articles on this subject:
A large portion of the savings that is expected when upgrading to a high efficiency condensing furnace is gained due to the reduced electrical consumption with the use of ECM (electrically commutated motor) motors.
ECM motors are also promoted as needing little maintenance due to the use of ball bearings and having the ability to operate at various speeds. As a motor that communicates with the heating or cooling components to deliver the optimum amount of airflow (speed) at any given time, increased comfort levels are almost always the primary benefit.
Since an ECM motor does require less maintenance than a typical PSC motor, some homeowners may assume that the other components in their High Efficient Furnace also can continue to operate safely with less preventative maintenance. This could not be further from the truth.
Here are 7 things that you may not know:
- A dirty furnace filter in a high efficient furnace will cause more damage and do so much quicker than in an older style natural draft or mid efficient furnace.
- ECM motors are not available as a universal replacement. A temporary conversion to a standard PSC motor is possible but is never accepted as warranty with any manufacturer.
- ECM motors are made up of 2 main components. The actual motor drive which may be easier to source; and the control module which is unit specific.
- ECM motors are easily and frequently misdiagnosed. When a motor drive is replaced when the control module is faulty, the second motor drive will eventually fail as well. Specific testing equipment along with a factory trained technician is required for complete diagnosis.
- Most local suppliers do not consistently carry enough ECM replacement motors and will have to freight in as needed.
- Each motor component can cost as much as $450.00 – $550.00 each without labor costs.
- Most manufacturers offer a standard 5 yr factory parts warranty. A 6 year old furnace with a failed ECM Motor can easily cost you over $1,200.00 to repair. Annual maintenance and a 10 year Parts and Labor extended factory warranty are more important than ever before.
ECM technology has many features that can benefit homeowners by increasing comfort levels in their homes. It seems only fair that we take a realistic approach when we are better informed.
Saving the planet is a great thing to consider, but is a disposable society looking at this completely?