Motor Failure on Your HVAC System

The motor on your HVAC system is probable the single most important component.  Hopefully your motor is one that has no issues and will continue working flawlessly for many years.  However if you get motor that stops working, you will be calling a repair technician and praying he/she can get it up and running in record time.

Many things can cause a motor to fail. The most important thing to remember is comprehensive inspections during regular maintenance can identify and diagnose problems long before the motor fails.

Overheating is most common cause of failure. For the most part there are three things that typically cause overheating.  Temperature is the leading factor in motor failure. An increase of only 10 degrees above its rating can cut a motors life in half. Buildup and dirty fan compartments can cause motors to worker harder and therefore hotter.  This then causes voltage irregularities. Dirt and moisture can also cause mechanical problems by breaking down the components. There are variable-frequency drives (VFDs) on your motor to help reduce motor failures from overheating and voltage irregularities.

Now if your motor does go bad, do you replace it or just repair it?  If you have a small HVAC system, such as a small office or even a home unit, then typically it is best to replace the unit.  New motors are more efficient, come with warranties, and are fairly easy to replace. If you have a motor of 25 horsepower or bigger, it’s usually best to repair the motor and replace the bearings.

There are some simple steps to help prevent motor failure.  Use a vacuum to clean your vents, not a wet cloth.  The vacuum will increase airflow and cool the motor, whereas wiping can push gunk and debris into the motor causing problems.  Routine preventive maintenance is the most important step you can take to prevent motor issues. Talk to your University City HVAC business about setting up a maintenance plan.