Your heating and cooling systems rely heavily on your furnace blower to force conditioned air through your ductwork. The blower is one of the most hardworking parts of your HVAC system, and it sometimes requires repairs and parts replacements. The blower should be checked twice a year during preventive heating and cooling maintenance, but there are actions you can take to keep it functioning efficiently between maintenance visits.
Check your Air Filter and Keep it Clean
You can visually check the condition of your blower when you check your air filter. Keeping your air filter clean is a key aspect of heating and cooling maintenance. Depending upon the type of filter installed, it is generally advisable to check your air filter every month to ensure dirt and dust haven’t built up to restrict airflow, clog your system and worsen indoor air quality.
When you check the filter, first ensure the system is turned off (See NOTE below) so the blower won’t come on and send a cloud of dust through the house. Then take a few moments to check out the blower. The air filter is usually located near the blower chamber. (Some systems have the filter in the blower cabinet and some are in the ductwork just outside the furnace). Make sure there is no dust, lint or grime built up on the equipment. If there is, you need to have it cleaned off.
Accumulated dirt adds weight to the blower blades, compromises efficiency and reduces your equipment's life span. Even as little as 1/16th of an inch of dirt can dramatically reduce the effectiveness of the blower.
During heating and cooling maintenance, your technician can take care of other important blower upkeep tasks, such as:
- Cleaning the blower blades and the wheel.
- Cleaning and tuning up the blower motor, adding oil if necessary to prevent friction and early equipment degradation.
- Ensuring the motor is rotating at the correct speed and in the right direction.
- Measuring the air velocity.
- Check for the rated voltage and amperage to the fan motor.
- Check the balance of the blower wheel.
- Checking the alignment of the blower motor and wheel.
- Checking the fan belt, if your unit has one.
- Tightening all components to prevent friction, noise and wear and tear.
The average furnace blower delivers roughly 350-400 cubic feet per minute of air per ton of air conditioning installed in the attached AC system. The best way to ensure it continues to handle the needed amount of air is with regular professional heating and cooling maintenance.
NOTE: Most newer furnaces have a safety interlock on the access door to the blower. Open the door and power is killed to the blower compartment. Sometimes when homeowners open this door, they don't reset this switch and a service call results because the furnace will remain off. Be careful to make sure that the door is firmly reseated if you take it off and avoid unneeded service costs.
Contact the professional technicians at P.K. Wadsworth to schedule your heating and cooling maintenance today. We’ll be happy to help keep your system running efficiently and effectively.
Photo credit: Allen McGregor