You Don't Have To Make The Same Mistakes

I always took my home's heating and cooling system for granted. That is until I found myself battling one of the hottest days in years and my air conditioner simply refused to turn on. After contacting my local HVAC contractor, I learned that my cooling coils had frozen over from a lack of maintenance. He did get my AC back up and running that day, but he also helped me to look at my heating and cooling system in a whole new light. I have spent a lot of time over the last few years learning more about how to properly maintain my HVAC system and ultimately lower my energy costs. Today, I would like to share this knowledge with you so that I can help you to avoid some of the costly mistakes I have made in the past.

Electric Furnace Not Heating Your Home? Oil The Belt-Driven Blower Motor

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If your home feels colder than usual, oil your old electric belt-driven furnace's blower motor now. Sometimes, older electric furnaces put out cold air because the blower motor lacks sufficient lubrication to operate properly, and the part burns more oil than usual because of its age. Eventually, the motor overheats and struggles to transfer cool air to the heating elements inside the appliance. As a result, your home feels drafty and cold. Here's why your furnace's blower motor overheats and what you can do to solve the problem.

Why Does Your Blower Motor Overheat?

The blower motor is one of the most critical pieces of your furnace. It receives and transfers cool air to the elements that heat your home. If you use your furnace all winter long without maintaining it regularly, the blower motor fills with excessive heat. One of the things you can do to help your blower fan cool down during operation is to keep it lubricated with oil. Oil prevents friction between the metal pieces that support the motor when you use your furnace.

When the oil runs low or dries up, the metal pieces rub against each other as the motor operates. If the parts overheat too much, the motor smokes and makes scrubbing, rattling or other strange noises. You may notice a burning odor in your basement or coming through your air vents as the appliance overheats.

Motors that lack oil also create problems in the blower fan, because it has to work harder to cool down the motor. If the blower fan stops working, your furnace is in danger of breaking down. You can locate and oil the blower motor without too much trouble.

How Do You Oil the Blower Motor?

To find your blower motor, cut power to your furnace for safety, then remove the back paneling over the lower half of the appliance's housing with a cross slot screwdriver. Once your remove the paneling, don't pull the blower motor out of its compartment. You want to see if the motor is too hot to touch or fill with oil.

Carefully, place your hand about 2 inches away from the motor. If you feel heat, then wait about one hour for the motor to cool off. You can also place a nonflammable rag or cloth on the motor to see if it's too hot. If the rag or cloth feels hot or even warm after you remove it, wait until the part cools. 

You need to use multi-purpose household oil to place inside the motor, because it doesn't contain caustic ingredients that can break or wear down the part. To find and oil the ports do the following:

  1. Look for four oval- or tear-shaped holes on the front surface of the motor. The ports also feature individual labels marked "oil ports" to help you find them easily.
  2. Place a thick towel around the base of the motor to catch any excess oil that drips from the part. Although the oil works great for lubricating the blower motor, it can create smoke if it lands on parts that don't require oil. Once you turn back on the furnace, the parts heat up and slowly burn off the oil.
  3. Fill the ports up completely to ensure that they have enough oil to lubricate the blower motor. Use your towel to soak up any oil that runs clear of the ports.
  4. Replace furnace's paneling securely with the screwdriver.
  5. Turn the furnace on and wait two hours to see if the motor cools down.

If your home feels warm and comfortable, you successfully solved your furnace's problem.

If your home still feels drafty and cold, contact a professional heating contractor, such as Allied Air Conditioning & Heating Corp, for services. Your old furnace may have other problems, such as a damaged heating element, that needs addressing.

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4 November 2015