When it comes to our furnaces and other HVAC systems, few people know much about the different parts and what they all do.
At the end of the day, the only thing that truly matters is how they heat up our homes and how efficiently they do just that. Knowing some of the functions of a furnace’s individual parts can be a great help when doing your own troubleshooting. However, there are also many parts of a furnace that can get overlooked until it’s too late.
One such part is a furnace’s inducer motor. The inducer motor is one the most important parts of your home’s heating system, due to the fact that it ensures that everything works safely. If the part starts to malfunction, wear down, or if you find that your inducer motor isn’t starting, the risk of damage can increase drastically.
Knowing exactly how to tell if an inducer motor is bad can greatly increase the chance of you catching any problems from occurring. We’ve put together this article to help you narrow down some of the key signs of a bad inducer motor and what you can do to fix any of them.
If none of these fixes solve the problem or you suspect it may be a far bigger issue that needs professional help, call our team at Clover Contracting or schedule an appointment on our website at your earliest convenience.
What are furnace inducer motors?
One of the best ways to find and fix an issue with a furnace’s inducer motor is to first understand what it is and what it does when it comes to heating.
The main job an inducer motor does is to suck out and remove any gas that’s trapped inside the furnace from the last time it turned on. As a result, inducer motors are most often found inside gas powered furnaces and act as a safeguard against any potential fire hazards.
The gas that these furnaces use are often highly flammable, and if any traces of it are still in it when the furnace starts another cycle, a fire can spark and cause massive amounts of damage to the surroundings.
To properly act as a countermeasure, a furnace’s inducer motor is placed close to the main heat exchangers. Many gas fueled furnaces burn natural gas – or occasionally propane – in a heat exchanger where the air is brought in and funneled out. When supply cuts off, a small portion of gas can still linger behind. That is where and when the inducer motor kicks on and draws that gas out.
Symptoms of bad draft inducer motor in your home
Some of the symptoms of a bad furnace inducer motor include:
One of the most common signs that you’re dealing with a bad inducer motor is repeated tapping sounds. More often than not, this can be caused by dirt or bits of ash and soot getting sucked in and building up around the fan’s shaft.
Eventually, the dirt and debris can collect and stick together, forming a clump that hits the sides. In some cases, tapping sounds coming from the furnace can also be the inducer motor’s bearings clicking against each other.
Depending on what speed it’s running at, a humming inducer motor can be either a relatively simple fix or an issue that a professional should look into.
A furnace naturally slows its blowers once the temperature of the house has reached a certain level in order to preserve energy. However, if it suddenly drops to slower speeds when it shouldn’t and the motor’s humming, there’s more than likely an issue with the capacitor and the motor itself.
You might also find that the motor isn’t spinning, even though it is on to begin with. Any humming at this point is a sign that your furnace’s capacitor may be damaged and needs replacing.
Simply put, the capacitor is the part that’s needed for the entire inducer motor to work properly. If the part’s damaged, the motor doesn’t get any power and won’t actually move.
Overall, though, furnace inducer motor troubleshooting can be quite simple to fix if you catch it early when the humming’s quiet.
Most of the time, the reason behind the noise is a dirty filter. Particles of dirt, dust and debris can enter in through the furnace’s exhaust and collect to eventually be blown out through the filter. If it isn’t regularly cleaned though, the inducer motor is forced to work harder and faces more wear and tear.
If you keep hearing vibrating noises coming from the furnace, this is one of the signs of a bad inducer motor. The main reason that the vibrations are happening is that the wheel or fan inside the motor itself is or has become unbalanced.
The vibrating often happens when the part spins, its unbalanced nature causing it to bump and collide with the other parts around it. You can do a quick and easy fix by finding the inducer motor and rebalancing its wheel.
Furnace inducer motor not starting — What can you do?
If you find that replacing the inducer motor is the only proper solution to your issue, either due to damage or simply a faulty motor, there is a way to easily replace it, though it may require a bit more elbow grease and effort.
As with the first step when dealing with many machines and HVAC systems, turn off the power and the gas supply to it before removing your furnace’s panels. Find the draft inducer motor – typically in the top left of the furnace – and unscrew it. The type the motor is may change how you can remove it, though. Take the replacement motor and properly align it before reattaching it.
All that’s needed from there is to replace the furnace’s cover and to turn on both the power and the gas supplies. If you don’t feel comfortable replacing your furnace’s inducer motor by yourself, you can always rely on our technicians at Clover Contracting.
How to tell if furnace inducer motor is bad — Takeaway
Often, the signs of a bad inducer motor relate to any sounds you might hear.
A well cared for or new inducer motor will be nearly silent as it works, since its main use is to remove any gasses from the heat exchangers. So, if you hear any odd sounds, there’s a high chance that you have a bad inducer motor.