How To Break (And Fix) A Furnace

posted on 10/11/07 at 11:59:14 pm by Joel Ross

Over the weekend, we were using the air conditioning. By Tuesday, it'd cooled down, but no heating necessary - my favorite type of day. No heating. No cooling. Just fresh air.

Being from Michigan, I enjoy both of those days every year.

Anyway, by Wednesday, it was cool enough to kick in the heater, so that's what The Wife did. Except it didn't turn on. It didn't do anything!

When I got home, being the handyman that I am, I set about to fix the problem - which involved waiting for the neighbor to get home so I could beg him to take a look at it. He came over and we pulled the cover off and tried it again. The draft inducer motor would turn just a tad, then lock in place. For those that don't know (which included me until last night), the draft inducer motor pulls the exhaust out of the furnace and forces it up the exhaust pipe and out of the house. The furnace will not kick in unless there is enough airflow. Since the motor wasn't even turning, there wasn't enough airflow for it to kick in.

After applying liberal amounts of WD4D, we had the motor turning, but it was loud and the furnace still wouldn't kick in. It sounded like a bearing might be locked up somewhere in the motor. The neighbor left me with instructions to get a new motor the next day, and we'd install it that evening (tonight). I called around, and it turns out it's a $136 part, and a local dealer had one in stock. So I got it, and waited for the neighbor to come home.

Once he got home, he came over, and we pulled the old motor off:

 Furnace 001

Yes. That's a bird. In my furnace. It must have come down the exhaust on Tuesday evening or Wednesday morning and gotten stuck, blocking airflow. We took the poor guy out back and buried him, cleaned up the part, reinstalled it, and we now have heat, and I saved $136!

Categories: Personal