Given the role of an inducer motor in a furnace, this part is vital for homeowners with gas-based systems. When this motor dies, the furnace will no longer function which can be a serious issue in the middle of winter. If you need to replace the draft inducer motor on your furnace, keep reading as this guide walks you through the process while touching on the cost of parts and repairs.
Is the Inducer Motor bad?
Before you begin to price parts or consider fixing the furnace yourself, you should make sure the inducer motor is actually the problem. As with many HVAC components, the draft inducer motor relies on other parts in the system, so the problem may not be as obvious as it seems.
A faulty pressure switch can prevent the motor from starting, but if you hear unusual noises like tapping or humming, that may be a sign of motor failure. There are several other steps you can take to ensure the inducer motor is the problem before bringing in a professional to assess the situation as well.
Should you repair or replace an inducer motor?
Deciding if you should repair or replace an inducer motor is the first step once you know the motor is faulty. Regardless of who intends to perform the repairs, consider the model of the furnace and its overall age.
Is this the first time you’ve needed work performed on the draft inducer in the furnace? Barring unforeseen issues, a high-quality inducer motor is designed to last up to 20 years. Heat and other factors can shorten its lifespan, but it’s not the type of part you should replace every decade. Inducer motors are also not necessarily something easy to repair.
In our research, we found that most HVAC contractors and homeowners with a knack for DIY projects choose to completely replace an inducer motor. Attempting to replace bearings in a sealed system isn’t cost-effective on an older system. Carrier and Bryant are two exceptions as their motors are easier to repair, but it’s generally not worth it for budget-friendly and midrange units.
Inducer Motor Cost
There are two factors to keep in mind with the cost of a replacement inducer motor. Compatibility and whether you need to only replace the motor or purchase a complete assembly. A good example is this budget-friendly inducer draft motor from Endurance Pro.
It only comes with the motor along with Molex and AMP harness adapters. Alternatively, the 318984-754 inducer motor from Supplying Demand is a complete kit that includes almost everything you need aside from a seal kit. Do you just need a new inducer motor, the fan, and the motor, or a completely new kit? Two-stage motors will be more expensive as well, so there are a variety of factors to consider.
As you can see from our pricing table, branding plays a part in the cost of an inducer motor replacement as well. Just like this 1 HP motor from Lennox is considerably more expensive than comparable motors from unfamiliar brands. Inducer motors from companies like Lennox, Carrier, Trane, and Tjernlund will carry a premium, but also come with better guarantees.
Inducer Motor Replacement
The first thing to consider before deciding whether to call a professional or attempt a repair yourself is the warranty. Many homeowners don’t realize that they only have to pay labor to have the draft inducer motor installed if the part is under warranty.
Given the overall cost of a replacement, the warranty could be the deciding factor for many homeowners considering going the DIY route. It’s also easier to replace an entire motor assembly instead of removing the motor itself. It will be more expensive, but will shorten the installation time considerably.
DIY Inducer Motor Replacement
Removing and replacing an inducer motor inside of a furnace isn’t a task every homeowner will want to take on. While it’s not the most complicated repair, you will need to be comfortable working with electricity and could risk damaging the furnace if you make a mistake. You’ll also need a few tools and the ability to source the proper motor for the furnace in your home.
To do this, you need to know the model number of the furnace and a number of other variables. A furnace from Bryant may require a different size vent pipe than one from Goodman or Carrier. Horsepower, amperage, and voltage are all critical as well, so you’ll need to rely on a part finder tool from a third-party site.
You can also locate the right motor through official sources. Carrier has a parts finder that covers their line along with Bryant and Payne. Lennox and other companies have their own resources as well, and you can turn to sites like SupplyHouse for HVAC parts from a variety of brands including York, Rheem, Trane, and more.
Once you have the right motor, you need to pick up a few tools. A Flathead screwdriver and a socket set with extensions is a must along with a set of hex keys regardless of whether it’s a single stage or two stage system. A can of PB Blaster will come in handy for any stuck bolts as well.
As always, cut the power and gas off to the unit before beginning any repairs and be wary of rough metal edges on the unit.
- Locate the access panel on your furnace, remove it and set it to the side.
- With access to the system, find the draft inducer and unplug any connectors that would tether it to the furnace and the ground wire. There could be two connectors depending on the style and brand of furnace. The pressure switch will also need to be removed
- Find the clamp on the exhaust pipe, loosen it and slide it up. Next, you’ll need to remove the shield plate and then use the socket and ratchet to loosen the mounting bolts that attach the draft inducer assembly to the furnace. With one hand on the assembly, remove the bolts and take the assembly to a work area.
- The cooling fan needs to be removed from the driveshaft, and while it may require a bit of force, you want to be cautious not to damage the fan. Once the cooling fan has been removed, you will need to remove the set screw that holds the blower fan to the motor.
- Once the blower fan is off the assembly, it’s time to remove the motor. To do this, you need to use the socket to detach it from the plate and motor bracket.
- Replace and reattach the new motor into the bracket and plate. Make sure the set screw is lined up properly before installing the old blower fan onto the motor, and proceed to put the assembly back together.
- Once complete, reattach the assembly using the mounting bolts and reinstall the shield plate. Attach the wiring harness, put the panel back on the furnace, and turn the power back on.
Again, this process will vary to a degree depending on the furnace and is much easier if you are simply replacing the entire assembly with a motor instead of just the inducer motor. This video shows the draft inducer motor assembly being replaced in a matter of minutes.
Professional Inducer Motor Replacement
Homeowners that prefer to let a professional handle the repairs won’t have to get their hands dirty but should do a little research before placing a service call. The price of labor can vary considerably from one region of the United States to the next and is also affected by seasonal conditions.
An HVAC company will be able to source the proper part for your furnace in a matter of minutes although they won’t be able to pull the wool over your eyes with pricing thanks to our chart. While you may need gaskets or a sealing kit for the furnace, you’ll still be able to get a rough idea of the cost of parts beforehand.
When using a contractor or HVAC company for an inducer motor replacement, it’s important to get a number of quotes before assigning anyone the job. Always ask for multiple references and consider using the Better Business Bureau as well.
Inducer Motor FAQ
Q: Does an inducer motor require maintenance or lubrication?
A: Some inducer blowers will have an oil port for lubrication, while sealed motors don’t require any maintenance. As it depends on the model, so it’s best to consult the manual for your furnace.
Q: What causes an inducer motor to go bad?
A: There are a variety of reasons an inducer motor can fail from age to seized bearings or even the windings inside the motor. Voltage spikes and excess heat can also damage motors along with other components inside a furnace.
Q: Can you bypass or jump a pressure switch to test an induction motor?
A: Pressure switches are designed to keep you safe while expelling gases from the vent. Do not attempt to disable or bypass a furnace pressure switch.
Q: How long should most inducer motors last?
A: On average, you can expect a well-built inducer motor to last around 20 years.