ECM Variable Speed DC Blower Motors


ECM Variable Speed Motor

ECM motor, DC motor, variable speed motor, electrically efficient motor – all different names for similar types of the furnace motor. The main feature is the High energy efficiency, relative to conventional blower motors. But there are other significant benefits to consider.

The two main types are Constant Torque, often referred to as “electrically efficient”, or sometimes known as X13. Although very efficient in relation to conventional fan motors, X13 motors are about half as efficient as ECM Variable speed motors and are less capable of maintaining precision air flow.

ECM,  Variable Speed are fully variable and can be programmed to maintain constant air volumes, even in the most challenging duct systems. Rather than setting a speed, the motor is set to deliver the volume of air required for the utmost in system efficiency. The result is improved air flow and home comfort.

An added benefit to this technology is extraordinary reliability due to the brush less design and cool operation.

An ECM DC blower motor is an important and beneficial feature to consider when shopping for your next heating system.


Air Conditioning – Care & Maintenance


Common Air Conditioning Maintenance Issues

Important Maintenance of Evaporator Coils

Air Conditioning Evaporator Coils Act Like Filters Too!

The most common problems with air conditioners are a result of Dirty Evaporator Coils. These are usually out of sight, in your duct-work, so are often overlooked as an air conditioner maintenance item.  Symptoms of a dirty Evaporator Coil are often mistaken for low or improper refrigerant levels, but dirty coils can also be a source of mould and mildew when not proper air conditioning maintenance is overlooked. The outdoor Condensing Coils are often more visible, and in is an easy air conditioner maintenance item. These can be cleaned using a simple garden hose in most cases. Many factors can contribute to your system operating less efficiently than it should. An inefficient system means higher energy bills. These can result in the compressor working harder than it should, reducing the life span of your Air Conditioner or Heat Pump.

Proper Air Conditioner Maintenance

Dirty Furnace Filters - Important Air Conditioner Maintenance

Does Your Filter Look Like This?

With proper air conditioner maintenance, most air conditioners or heat pumps should last about 15 years. Higher quality, properly installed units can last much longer. You can follow a few simple air conditioner maintenance  steps to ensure you benefit from the longest life span, and keep your system operating:

  • Check all hose connections for leaks, and make sure the condensate drain tube is draining freely.
  • Ensure your filters are clean. A better quality air filter is best, and the frequency of required filter changes will vary.
  • Air Conditioner Too Close

    Many Air Conditioners are installed too close to the house, blocking air flow

    Ensure the outdoor Condensing Unit is clear of obstructions. a good rule of thumb is to keep things like plants and shrubbery at least 2 ft. away to ensure adequate airflow. An Air Conditioner, improperly installed too close to the house, can be a big problem too.

  • Dirt and dandy lion fluff, among other things, will buildup on the outdoor Condensing Unit Coils. This can be cleaned using a garden hose. if this is not freely visible, due to protective louvers, make a point of checking it periodically. this can normally still be cleaned by spraying water through the louvers.
  • Keep furniture and drapes away from registers.
Professional Air Conditioner Maintenance in Ottawa, Ontario

Other important air conditioner maintenance measures are best handled by a professional. Even if there is no obvious issue, you should consider having a professional inspection done once a year to identify early signs of trouble and keep your system is running as efficiently as possible.

Below Zero Heating and Cooling, in Ottawa, Ontario, offers air conditioner maintenance packages that can do this for you automatically. With an annual maintenance plan, there is no need for you to remember. Simply contact us to set up a plan and we will call you when your air conditioner maintenance is due.

What is a Modulating Gas Furnace?

Modulating Gas FurnaceIn the Ottawa Valley, it is often said that if you don’t like the weather, just wait 10 minutes. Ottawa winters vary a lot and with these changing conditions, heating requirement for your home changes too. Furnaces need to cycle on and off depending on the heating needs of the home. This on and off cycling causes wear and tear on the furnace as well as wasting energy. A Modulating Furnaces has a much wider range of heat output than a 2-stage or single capacity furnace. A typical Modulating Gas Furnace varies the heat output by up to 65%. rather than the either/or heat output of a 2-stage Gas Furnace or the on/off of a single stage Gas Furnace, a Modulating Gas Furnace uses the gas valve to make small adjustments to heat output of as little as 1% as required.

Modulating Gas Furnace Function

Variable Speed ECM Blower MotorThe Gas Valve in a Modulating Gas Furnace uses as little gas as required by making small adjustments in the heat output, using only as much gas as is required to maintain the temperature in the home. The Variable Speed ECM Blower enhances this further by adjusting the air flow to match the heating, ensuring that you feel the maximum comfort. The result is a dramatic reduction in temperature fluctuations from your thermostat set point, as well as a more even heat throughout the home. Modulating Furnaces operate very quietly, with efficiencies that can exceed 98% AFUE. In addition, the Variable Speed ECM blower uses a fraction of the electricity required by a typical furnace blower.


Modulating Gas Furnaces are available in sizes to suit any home. They are sized for the maximum anticipated heat requirements, with a little wiggle room for those days that are much colder than the norm. A Modulating Gas Furnace will vary heat capacity from as low as 35% of its full capacity, and will adjust heating in increments as low as 1% to maintain proper temperatures in your home. Modulating Gas Furnaces will rarely run at top capacity, but will operate much as a cruise control in your car. As a result, a Modulating Gas Furnace will cycle on and off much less frequently, but simply varies as required. The result is extremely quiet operation with a superior level of home comfort at the highest level of efficiency possible.


Modulating Gas Furnaces typically require a specialized thermostat to operate as their peak efficiency. These thermostats control the modulation rates as well as additional features such as humidity control and ventilation. Many are Wi-Fi Connected for remote operation. You can add a variety of accessories to a Modulating Gas Furnace. The more consistent operation of a Modulating Gas Furnace will optimize and improve the function of devices such as humidifiers, air cleaners and Heat Recovery Ventilators. Modulating Gas Furnaces cost more than less complex furnaces, but provide a superior level of comfort while using the least amount of energy possible.

Hassle Free

A Modulating Gas Furnace will last a longer that its single or 2-stage counterpart, due to the infrequent on/off cycles and rarely operating at full capacity. Ten Year parts warranties are common, with the heat exchangers typically warrantied for the life of the original owner. Modulating Gas Furnaces make much less noise than older furnaces or even new basic furnaces. The operation of a Modulating Gas Furnace is as simple as a standard furnace, but with a much higher level of comfort and efficiency.


As with any heating system, the ducts need to be properly sized so that they move air efficiently. They are however much more forgive of ductwork that is not ideal. The more consistent heat delivery and the automatic adjustment of the variable speed blower are particularly beneficial in duct systems that present challenges.