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Thread: 1994 Furnace won't start up - bad induction draft fan motor?

  1. #1

    Default 1994 Furnace won't start up - bad induction draft fan motor?

    I have an original nat. gas furnace in my house which was built in 94. I went to fire up the heat for the first time today, and noticed there was no air movement. I went to the garage and noticed there was not flame. I pulled the cover panel and poked around and noticed that the induced draft fan motor was really hot to the touch (and not running). The air handler motor works fine, as does the A/C.

    so here are some random questions:

    is there a common failure with the induced draft fan motor that would be relatively easy to check/fix (I'm a handy dude).

    would it be worth considering replacing the whole setup (16 year old furnace, 3-4 year old A/C). I keep hearing about the $1500 tax credit that is going to expire soon.......

    any other ideas/thoughts?

    Thanks,

    Ian
    Last edited by completelyhis; 10-05-2010 at 07:46 AM.

  2. #2
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    To get the tax credit, you need to buy a fairly expensive, efficient unit. Efficiency is good, but it may or not pay for itself in the short-term. Long-term, probably. If the fan motor is shot, that may not be all that expensive in the scheme of things, and the furnace could last another 10-years or more. In my limited experience, the bearing may be the thing shot, and if it is a bronze one, if you can free up the shaft, and put some oil on it, it could last another few years. But, it may be fairly inexpensive and just replace the whole thing. If the system is applying the proper voltage, but the motor rotor is locked and can't turn, eventually, the motor will burn up or if it has a fuse, the fuse might blow. Not sure how much of that assembly has to be replaced as a unit. You'd need the parts breakdown drawing. Keep in mind that federal thing is a tax credit, so depending on your bracket and deductions, it may not mean too much. Unless you changed your withholding starting now, you won't see it until you file your tax return next year (remember to change it back at the end of the year or you may be subject to penalties for not taking out enough next year). The credit is 30% of the qualifying PARTS (not labor, and not all parts qualify) up to $5000 (which gives you the max $1500). A new furnace parts cost probably isn't that much, but labor could exceed that for total cost.
    Last edited by jadnashua; 10-05-2010 at 11:23 AM.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  3. #3
    Plumber jimbo's Avatar
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    You don't repair anything here...you replace the induction draft motor. Should run $100 to $150.

    If you have the make and model of the furnace, we could try to find more details

  4. #4
    Test, Don't Guess! cacher_chick's Avatar
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    Jimbo is right- the induction motor has more hours of run time than a blower motor (when heating) and is a common failure item. On some furnaces only the electric motor is replaced, while on others the motor, housing, and wheel all come as one assembly.

  5. #5
    Homeowner Thatguy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cacher_chick View Post
    . . .is a common failure item.
    Since the slightly more run time is foreseeable I'd think they'd make the inducer motor slightly more reliable.
    Perhaps the manufacturer's strategy here is that unreliable components that are not outrageously costly to replace will be tolerated by most buyers.

    If there is a motor rewind/repair shop near you, you may get a better price. Probably they just need to press in new bearings.

    From a survey I did the average life of a central air/heating unit is 25 years with maybe one in one hundred lasting 80 years. Coastal environments are harder on these things.

    This book
    http://www.amazon.com/Times-Practica.../dp/031235388X
    has repair/replacement strategies and if I could remember a few words from that particular page so I could search the exact phrase in Google, that particular chart would come up online. Your local library may have this book.

    I have a spreadsheet that tells you, within a year or so, when to replace almost anything but you need to have kept your repair cost records over the years. As far as I know executable files cannot be posted on this site.
    Last edited by Thatguy; 10-06-2010 at 06:19 PM.

  6. #6

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    Replaced the inducer motor, it cost me $160 to have a buddy do it, including cost of new motor, that was worth me not taking the time to do it! Thanks for steering me in the right (and cheaper) direction!

    Ian

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