Gas Furnace Noise

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  #1  
Old 12-29-03, 02:21 PM
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Gas Furnace Noise

Just noticed today that my approximately 10 year old Lennox Model # GD1-55-3 is making a squealing noise when it is running. The noise is coming from the lower compartment of the unit. So far, it isn't real loud...intermittent...comes and goes.

I assume it is the blower motor--either the belt is slipping or the motor is seizing up? If either one is the case, how long can I let this go? (the reason I ask is because it is Dec. 29th and getting a repair guy in now would be expensive)

Can I just lubricate something? Are there some temporary measures I can take? If the motor is seizing, will the belt just break or is there a risk of fire?

Don't mean to sound too cautious but I've never done any repairs on a furnace before, mainly because I have a healthy respect for things that have flames shooting through them & could potentially go BOOM!

Assuming I get through the holidays, is it worth repairing a dinosaur like this? (I may have too because we are always broke around here ;-)

Chris
 
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Old 12-29-03, 06:56 PM
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Hello: Chris. Welcome to my gas appliances topic.

May just be a belt or motor bearings in need of some oil. Unplug the unit from the power electrical source or turn off the electrical breaker to it.

Remove that lower blower front panel. The motor should be right there in front. Beneath it the filter. Remove the filter. Unplug blower motor and remove the two tiny screws which hold the blower motor and cage assembly.

Pull out the cage assembly. Clean as needed. Look for oiling holes or oiling caps on the ends of the motor. If you find them, add a few drops of 3 in 1 oil or any type of motor oil that is handy.

Some motors have caps which must be lifted to add oil while some are just holes. Few drops of any type oil works wonders. One that is completed, reinstall and secure exactly as found.

Clean all lint out of everywhere and or anywhere visable. Replace filter, if needed and or as needed. Reinstall blower electrical plug, if you had to remove it. Not all units have a seperate plug for the blower motor. Replace front panel cover exactly as you found it.

Plug in furnace unit back into the main outlet or turn on the circuit breaker, etc which ever applies. Turn up T-Stat. Noise should be gone...

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Old 12-30-03, 05:30 AM
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Thanks Sharp :-) I'll have a look at everything today.

Chris
 
  #4  
Old 01-10-04, 11:09 AM
RobW12
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Noisy fan/blower still squeaking

I have the same problem with my furnace which is a 20-year-old Westinghouse. Last night, it was squeaking something fierce on low speed. High speed no problem.

The last time this happened a couple of years ago, I just replaced the fan belt. This time I did that and when I put the new belt back on, it still started squeaking. It's stopped now, but I expect it will come back again.

Is there a diagram to show how to pull the fan assembly out? I can't see any obvious nuts or screws on the cage. It looks as if it's on a track and will slide out, but hard to know which nuts hold it together.

The motor is two-speed and I can't remember ever oiling it, but it does have a black rubber cap on the front which I assume is to add lubricant. How much do I put in?

Thanks, Rob.
 
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Old 01-10-04, 02:32 PM
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Hello: Rob

If the furnace has the blower beneath the burners and the furnace blows the warm air upwards, it's an updraft forced air furnace. Which is the same as Editors. Follow the same directions.

Remove that front cover. The blower fan assembly should slide out towards you. In order to do so, the two tiny screws, which hold the entire assembly in place, will be on the blowers housing front up underneath in front.

If you are looking on the cage it's the wrong place to look. Look as directed and instructed above. The entire blower has to slide out as an assembly to access the motor, motor bearings and fan cages bearings.

The motor may have oiling holes or caps covering the holes. Add a few drops of household oil into those oiling holes as well as those found on the cage bearings.

I know the usual question is what kind of oil? Any type, kind or viscosity of oil use to lubricate metal parts is fine. Automotive 30 weight is fine, as is 3 in 1 oil etc. Any oil is better than none.

Be sure the thermostat is not in demand. Unplug the electrical plug out of the wall socket, turn off the breaker etc whatever it takes to be sure there is no electrical power to the unit during this maintainance procedure.

Doubt there will be any pics online for a furnace of the age. Nor do I think any are really needed once the blower securing screws are located. Easy enough to do.

Once the task is completed, use the reply button to update the final results into this post. Be awaiting those results. Good Luck.
 
  #6  
Old 01-10-04, 07:25 PM
RobW12
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Furnace fan noise

Sharp, I found the screw and was able to pull out the whole assembly. Only problem was that I could only get it out half way because of the #$*) electrical wire attaching the blower to the furnace. Whoever installed this didn't put enough slack in the wire to allow the fan assembly to come out all the way.

Any suggestions? I still can't get at the assembly without disconnecting the motor, and I'd rather leave well enough alone in that department.

Thanks for your advice; you helped me back last Fall fix my gas dryer problem.
 
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Old 01-10-04, 08:24 PM
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RobW12

Suggestions? Yes. Two of them.

1) Get the mind set to accomplish this task. Not as difficult as it appears to be.

You fixed the dryer and now you can fix this too. Not the time to back out now. I am here to help you step by step, if you are still willing to make the attempt. We can do this and you'll get it fixed.

2) Get the tools ready. You only have to remove the electrical wires where they connect at the fan switch box, not at the motor.

If you are still with me and willing to do some minor electrical wire disconnections, blower motor assembly can be fully removed, fixed and reinstalled. Including the rewiring, which is nothing more than connecting them back as they are now.

You with me? Advise, so I know your here and ready my friend.
 
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Old 01-11-04, 07:02 PM
RobW12
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Disconnecting furnace fan motor

Okay Sharp, you've convinced me. I've done electrical before, so I'll pop the box open and see if I can disconnect the fan motor wires as you suggest.

However, it won't happen for a few days until it's not so cold and we can get along for a couple of hours without heat!! The fan has stopped squeaking for now, so I'm hoping the new belt did the trick once it got loosened up. The old one had a lot of cracks in it.

Thanks again for your help. I'll keep you posted or be back with more questions....

Rob.
 
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Old 01-17-04, 05:06 PM
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Hiya Sharp...it's me again :-)

Well, I did all that you suggested but when I got the assmbley apart, it was obvious that everything had seized up pretty good. There's a good reason for this--my estimate of the furnace's age was around the 10 year old mark. I was off by 23 years

It was made in 1971.

I bit the bullet & called in a repair guy...he was the one that figured out the age. He also did his best to sell me a new furnace as opposed to replacing the fan motor since the one in question was going to be hard to find & expensive to install.

Since I didn't have the money for a new furnace ($2000-$3000), I told him to go ahead with the replacement. About $326 later, I had a new motor and son of a gun if we don't have heat in the basement and other places we didn't before

The repair guy is still after me to buy a new one but at this point I'm wondering how necessary that is (I definitely wouldn't buy another Lennox mainly because of the price--upwards of $3500 for a high-efficiency unit in these parts--and also the fact that only Lennox authorized dealers are allowed to do the repairs). I mean, the thing probably never had ~any~ maintenance done on it by the previous owner. During the 9 years I've had the house, I at least vacuumed the dirt & dust out of the thing. So far that $326 has been the only money spent on it.

The flames are looking a little yellow here & there so I am planning to have someone come in & do the clean/tune-up deal on it in the summer. Other than that, it seems to be running great.

Do you think I should keep it?

Can you recommend anything else I should have done?

There is a lot of talk about carbon monoxide--when the guy comes in to do the tune-up, can I ask him to check that as well or is it part of the service?
 
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Old 01-17-04, 09:29 PM
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Hello: Editor

In my opinion, the very last thing you want any heating agent that also sells furnaces to do is co test your furnace of that age.

If they sell new furnaces, what do you think they are most likely to say? You guessed Wrong. You need a new furnace? No.

They often say they cannot test an older furnace and assure positive results. For legality reasons that lets them off the hook.

Best bet if you want a co test and have it done by a unbiased party is to have the local gas utility provide and do the test. In some areas of this country the natural gas companies do the testing for a small fee or for free.

If the local gas company does the testing and does not sell furnaces or parts, than it is more than likely to provide unbiased testing results and without selling furnaces as a main interest.

Slightly yellowed flame tips are normal on older furnaces. As long as the yellow is on the flame tips and not more than 1 inch of the top of the flame tip is yellowed, all should be fine.

The $326.00 paid was a fairly good price too. Labor included and any sales taxes for parts, not a bad deal when amoritized over the life of the furnace and the time you used it for....
 

Last edited by Sharp Advice; 01-18-04 at 07:02 AM.
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Old 01-18-04, 06:54 AM
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OK, so it looks like I did the right thing by having the motor replaced. I'll also have someone other than the agent to do the CO test.

What do you think about my 'if it ain't broke (matter of fact, it's working pretty good -- don't fix it' approach? If I have the clean-up/tune-up job done, what else can I expect to fail in the coming years?

Sure gas is expensive but $3500 will buy me about 3 years worth at today's prices. Are Lennox units traditionally pricey? Obviously they are well made since mine is still going after 30 years but there must be other alternatives.

The terminology is a little confusing to me too. I mean, no one is going to buy a 'low-efficiency' furnace so just about all the others must be 'mid-efficiency' except for the expensive ones. By my reckoning, it would take about 10 years to recoup the installation costs of a high-end unit and by that time either gas prices will have shot through the roof OR global warming will make furnaces unnecessary Is 'high-efficiency' really worth it?

BTW, thanks for all the help

Chris
 
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Old 01-18-04, 07:21 AM
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Chris

Furnace pricing is just one more consumer item which is highly competitive. Quality is never cheap and the brand in question is no exception. Neither is after sale service and parts availability.

"Alway's consider the warranties and future service needs for any major appliances your considering purchasing. Price isn't always the best guide for long term appliance investments."

The above quote is always contained in my replies when these types of questions are asked. Because I think it applies to all purchases of major appliances as well as many other items.

Furnace costs, when amoritized over the life of the furnace and the service it provides during it's service life span is initially expensive but worth the price in the long term, imo.

If the current unit is in good and safe operational order, keep it. If it isn't broke, don't fix it. Agree with you on that point.

There is no such unit that is low efficiency. Just ones that are slightly more efficient that is required by law. As a consumer, it is our choice which to buy based upon our personal needs, long term plans and current financial status.

I simply include long term needs as one more consideration. Mostly because in todays world of retail selling, too much consideration is placed on bargins, sales, discounts and price.
 
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