Blower squeak! Bearings or Bushings? Can it be greased?
Blower on air handler just started squeaking. Without pulling it I don't know wheather or not it can be greased. So, do I have one ready to go back in and if so where can I get a motor for it, or can it be greased? It is winter so I don't want to mess with this thing long. Thanks! D. Hobbs, Ky
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Re: Blower squeak! Bearings or Bushings? Can it be...
Most elec. fan motors can not be oiled , try holding the blower assembly with the fan running to see if that stops the noise , if it does not you need to replace the evap. fan motor and if the blower wheel is dirty clean it , if there is alot of rust on it replace it as well. Good luck.
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Brown is rust. Painted metal outside for 2 yrs eventually rusts (ergo: brown drips) The fan is exposed to heat/cold/wet and the sintered bronze bushings may have lost their lubrication and/or the shaft is corroded, causing squeaks. Take the case off and try to lube the shaft bearings with oil, not WD40.
If the air handler is the suspected vibration point then pull the service panel off the air handler while it is running and look at the blower wheel while it is running. You should be able to see if there is a wobble in the blower wheel. If this is the case the blower wheel will need to be replaced and/or possibly the fan motor if the bearings are bad.
Since i do not know what brand unit you have i can't give exact instructions on how to remove the blower assembly. But as a general rule, there are only 4 or 6 screws holding the assembly in place. There are wires that have to be disconnected as well.
It is a pretty big job to replace a blower wheel or blower motor. In the case of a motor, the replacement motors are not original equipment and have to be modified to work correctly in any given system. This is better left to an expert.
the 'squeaking noise' you hear is pretty much 1 of 4 problems with the unit.
1) Most likely it's a fan motor where the bearings are going out (metal to metal is causing the squeaking). The 'fix' for this problem is to change the motor which will run around $150 if you call a repairman, maybe more depending on the motor. I've been told there are still mfc's who put motors in their units 'that can be oiled' and I'm not going to say that's not true - but I haven't seen a motor that can be oiled - in years. They (mfc's) just don't do it anymore - after all - 'we're in a throwaway society you know.
Speaking of which - it might be 'cost effective' for you to think about buying a new unit, i.e. the cost of a new unit over the cost of repairing what you have. If you spend the extra cash for a new unit - then everything is "new" especially the compressor which is the heart of any AC unit.
2) Sometimes 'compressors' will also squeak - again it's bearings that are causing the noise and if it's a compressor - then you are in big trouble and should 'seriously' start thinking about a new AC.
3) a third possibility but not very likely - and that is it could be something as simple as a fan blade/squirrel cage (the fan mtr turns a blade and usually a squirrel cage) hitting some other part of the AC in such a way where you think it's squeaking you are hearing. I doubt if this is the case but if you pull the unit and take the cover off and 'turn the unit on' you might be able to determine this (for sure) and make an adjustment/fix on the spot.
4) lastly ... here is something I've done in the past. If you have the unit out of the window and the cover off - take a look at the fan motor and see if it's possible to take a drill and drill a very small hole on each side of the motor where the bearings are encased. (Note: drill the hole 'on top' of the encasement) - Then you take a oil can/plastic bottle and try to get some oil down on the bearings. This is a long shot (having a place to drill a hole) but if you can get some oil down on the bearings (remember you have bearings on both ends of the motor) it will extend the life of the motor possibly for years.
Like I said - I've done this (successfully) in the past. The big problem is that some motors don't have the 'built up encasement of the bearings' and so it's not possible to drill anywhere.
Squealing sounds from a forced-air heat pump generally occur when the belt that connects the motor to the fan slips. If the blower is making a grinding noise, shut off the unit and call a heat pump repair technician --the motor's bearings are probably shot.
In most cases, the belt is improperly aligned or worn and needs replacement. Follow the instructions in your owner?s manual (if you don?t have one, contact the manufacturer and ask for one).
This job involves removing the access panel, loosening a couple of bolts that hold the blower motor at the proper tension, and realigning or adjusting the belt. In many cases, it?s a good idea to remove it and buy a replacement at the hardware store.
When reinstalling the belt, be careful not to over-tighten it--this can wear out the motor bearings.