If you’ve noticed unusual noises coming from your furnace, a worn bearing could be to blame. It’s a common problem with furnaces. Both gas and electric furnaces have bearings. Over time, these bearings can wear out while manifesting in the form of unusual noises. If left unchecked, worn bearings can cause other problems like insufficient airflow and poor heating.
What Are Bearings?
Bearings are fittings that are designed to reduce friction between two or more moving parts. They typically consist of a circular-shaped piece of soft material with a hollow center. Some of them, alternatively, may feature a set of enclosed balls around the hollow center. Regardless, bearings are used to reduce friction between moving parts.
How Bearings Work in Furnaces
Neither the heating element of an electrical furnace nor the burner assembly of a gas furnace will move. Heating elements and burner assemblies are stationary parts. Furnaces, however, have a blower as well. The blower is responsible for forcing the warm conditioned air produced by the furnace into the ductwork. To perform this task, some of the blower’s parts will move.
Furnace blowers are fans, and like most fans, they feature a set of blades. As the blades spin, they’ll draw the warm and conditioned air from the furnace into the ductwork. Furnaces blowers typically feature a bearing to promote a smoother operation. The bearing will act as padding to absorb vibrations and reduce friction.
Signs of Worn Bearings
If your furnace has a worn bearing, you may notice unusual noises originating from it. Most blowers have a bearing. You can usually find the blower at the bottom of your furnace. Screening, grinding or other unusual noises originating from this area may be indicative of a worn bearing.
During the early stages of failure, worn bearings may simply produce unusual noises. If you don’t replace it, though, the worn bearing may cause other problems.
Assuming the worn bearing is located in your furnace’s blower, it may cause decreased airflow. Blowers are responsible for moving air into the ductwork. If the bearing has completely failed, the blower may struggle to move air into the ductwork. As a result, you may feel little or no heat coming out of the supply vents in your home.
Keep in mind that most air conditioning systems rely on the furnace blower to move air into the ductwork. Therefore, you may experience these same problems when running your air conditioning system.