When discussing any major home appliance, like the air conditioner or the furnace, it is greatly beneficial to have at least a working knowledge of its operation. That doesn’t mean that you need to be able to take it apart and put it back together, or even that you need to repair it on your own. Instead, having deeper knowledge of how your appliances work helps you identify when something goes wrong. The faster you can identify a problem, the faster you can get help and have it fixed. With that in mind, let’s look at some of the furnace parts that you need to know.
The Air Filter
The air filter is a part that is installed in the air handler of your furnace, covering the air return section of the ducts. It is responsible for capturing any particles, like dust or debris, which might blow in from the ducts. Such particles could cause damage to the furnace if allowed to infiltrate the system, and the air filter does an excellent job of protecting the furnace from their effects. However, if the air filter is not cleaned or replaced every few months it can become clogged to the point of restricting air flow. This restricted air flow can cause the furnace to overheat and shut down as a safety measure. If you hear your furnace constantly turning on and off again, it is likely because the system is overheating every time it turns on.
The Air Handler
The air handler is the collection of parts that is responsible for circulating air throughout the house. The air handler motor, which is responsible for turning the fan, is the part that is put under the most strain while the furnace is operating. To compensate for this, the motor is equipped with a number of lubricated bearings, which lessen the amount of friction. These bearings can dry out over time, however, which will cause them to wear down. This will cause the friction on the motor to keep increasing until it overheats and burns out. If you hear a grinding sound coming from your furnace, call a professional right away. That’s the sound of the bearings wearing out. If you don’t act quickly, you may have to replace the entire motor instead of just a few bearings.