If your furnace has been running inefficiently, driving up your energy bills, you should first take some steps to clean and maintain it. Change the air filter, open and clean the vents, and make sure your thermostat is properly adjusted. If the furnace is still inefficient after you take these steps, then there may be something wrong. Minor problems can cause a loss of efficiency without causing the furnace to fail completely. Here are a few such problems that might need to be repaired.
Worn Ball Bearings
The blower motor portion of your furnace, like most motors, will contain a few ball bearings that are meant to let the machine operate with less friction. Over time, these ball bearings will wear out. This will lead to an increase in friction, which leads to reduced efficiency. Other problems you might notice include a grinding, whirring sound, which is most noticeable when the furnace is turning off or turning on.
A furnace repair company can easily remove old, worn bearings and replace them with new ones. This should quiet down your furnace, reduce friction, and restore efficiency.
Torn Fan Belt
The blower motor, or fan motor, also has a belt that keeps it spinning along. This belt is made from pretty tough rubbered webbing, but it does suffer wear and tear over the years. This can cause the edges to start to wear. Eventually, the belt starts to fray, and then it can tear. Like worn ball bearings, a torn belt increases friction in the system and can lead to a loss of efficiency. If you have a torn fan belt, you can expect a squealing and squeaking sound when the fan is blowing.
Thankfully, replacing the fan belt is a fairly straightforward process. The repair may even be covered under warranty if the furnace is relatively new.
Cracked Heat Exchanger
The heat exchanger is the part that surrounds the flame, heats up, and then transfers the heat to the moving air. If it cracks, which is quite common, it won't get hot enough and your furnace will lose efficiency.
A cracked heat exchanger absolutely needs to be replaced because it can lead to dangerous carbon monoxide leaks. However, this is quite an extensive repair, so in some cases, your furnace repair technician will recommend replacing the whole furnace instead.
If your furnace has lost efficiency, you may need one of these repairs. Talk to your HVAC contractor to learn more about furnace repair.