Keeping Your AC System Cleaner

What You Need To Know About Furnace Ball Bearings

by Yolanda White

Your furnace is one of the most important appliances in your home. Without a functional furnace, it is impossible to keep your home warm. Modern furnaces are made up of many different mechanical components that must work in perfect harmony to move heated air throughout your home. While you might be familiar with most components in your heating system, you may not be familiar with the ball bearings in your furnace. Since the performance of the ball bearings can have a direct impact on the efficiency of your furnace, it's important that you understand these simple components.

What are Ball Bearings?

Ball bearings are designed to allow two mechanical parts to move together while minimizing friction.

Your furnace contains a couple sets of ball bearings that ensure the smooth and efficient movement of major components. You will find ball bearings in the blower fan motor and in the draft inducer motor.

The blower fan motor is responsible for pushing heated air from your furnace into your air ducts. This motor relies on ball bearings to allow the fan blades to spin within the housing. The ball bearings on a draft inducer motor perform the same function.

What are the Signs of Ball Bearing Failure?

It's important that you can recognize the signs of ball bearing failure within your furnace if you want to minimize repair costs.

Failing ball bearings can lead to serious damage that may cause your furnace to seize up. The best way to identify ball bearing failure is to listen closely to your furnace while it is in operation.

The draft inducer fan removes exhaust fumes from the heat exchanger, so it only runs for a few minutes at the beginning of a heat cycle. If the bearings in this fan are failing, you will hear a low hum or grinding noise coming from your furnace.

If the ball bearings in your blower fan motor are failing, you will hear a squealing or whining noise throughout the heating cycle.

How Should Ball Bearing Failure be Addressed?

Only an experienced HVAC professional should repair damaged or failing ball bearings in your furnace. These professionals have the ability to assess the condition of the ball bearings to determine if they must be replaced, or if a new supply of grease will restore proper performance.

You should schedule an appointment with a furnace repair service as soon as you hear any sounds that suggest your furnace's ball bearings are starting to fail so that you can prevent a total fan failure in the future.