Furnace Blower Fan on 100% of the time - Good or Bad or it depends?

I was at a dinner party last night and two guests described how their HVAC reps told them to run their furnace blowers 100% of the time.  The HVAC reps reasons for the recommendation, as relayed by the dinner guests, were:
1. continuous running reduces the wear and tear on the blower motor that cycling on and off causes, thereby avoiding an earlier motor replacement
2. circulating the air around the home provides better balanced temperatures throughout the home and, 
3. continuous air flow would provide cleaner air due to the continuous filtering.

We live in northern Michigan and are a heating dominate climate.  I am curious to hear from the HVAC professionals about what they recommend to their clients and why.  At the moment I don't buy the above arguments and feel those customers end up paying more in energy costs for little benefit.  However I do understand there is no disputing tastes when talking about perceived comfort.  Also if anyone knows of a good source or any research done on this issue I would like to see a more in depth analysis (if its out there).

[NOTE: Neither home has an ERV, HRV, or other mechanical ventilation other than intermittent bath and kitchen fans.  Both are natural gas, forced air furnaces.]

Any discussion on this subject?
Thanks,
TJ

Tags: HVAC, IAQ, energy, motors

Views: 144276

Replies to This Discussion



Bruce Gold said:


Steven Lewis said:
The manual you have is about all that is available. I will talk to our service tech at Trane and see if they have any ideas. let you know

I truly cannot find the model or serial number anywhere on the furnace, I am reading them off of copies when I bought the unit. I found another one. TDX060R9V3W5 serial number 5503JGH7.

Sure apprecialte your help...lots.

I see you did, let me see if I can add a few more

Yes i got the pictures. The model & serial #'3 will be on a tag behind the bottom door. Remove the door by lifting up and pulling out on the bottom. The numbers you gave are probably the model & serial #'s for the unit.

I have a call in to the Tech and he is trying to get a phone # for the local distributer so they can refer you to a contractor who is knowledgeable enough to find the problem and resolve the issue.

The smell could be coming from the motor but usually only if it is running hot (poor duct/restricted duct can do it ) A static pressure or heat rise through the furnace can help diagnos that.

The only issue I see (it has nothing to do with the furnace smell) is the drain off the a/c coil - Drains should not be reduced - that 3/8 vynil house will plug easily and should be 3/4 pvc like the white pipe from the funace drain.


Steven Lewis said:
Yes i got the pictures. The model & serial #'3 will be on a tag behind the bottom door. Remove the door by lifting up and pulling out on the bottom. The numbers you gave are probably the model & serial #'s for the unit.
Steve, thanks for everything I really would appreciate that phone number because I am about to call Trane and see if they have a rep in my area who could come out.
Yesterday at first my next door neighbor could not smell anything....then I pushed the thermostat to make sure it went into the second sage, when it did he was in the living room and could smell it, an oily, metallic type smell.
He was the first one to suggest to the drain hose and make sure the drain was clean, etc...I hear the water coming out of the furnace, and cannot smell anything, drain looks clean.
My crazy question is....why did all of this start to happen after I heard that High Pitch noise from the blower. Would it really take 4 years for my duct work to start smelling all of a sudden.
I am having someone come out and clean out my duct work, to eliminate any type of dirt problems. Do you need that serial number, since it was a bitch just getting that top panel back into place...took 5 tries :)
HELP!!!!!!! Also would the furnace people have the right equipment to take that static pressure test you were talking about?

I have a call in to the Tech and he is trying to get a phone # for the local distributer so they can refer you to a contractor who is knowledgeable enough to find the problem and resolve the issue.

The smell could be coming from the motor but usually only if it is running hot (poor duct/restricted duct can do it ) A static pressure or heat rise through the furnace can help diagnos that.

The only issue I see (it has nothing to do with the furnace smell) is the drain off the a/c coil - Drains should not be reduced - that 3/8 vynil house will plug easily and should be 3/4 pvc like the white pipe from the funace drain.


Bruce Gold said:


Steven Lewis said:
Yes i got the pictures. The model & serial #'3 will be on a tag behind the bottom door. Remove the door by lifting up and pulling out on the bottom. The numbers you gave are probably the model & serial #'s for the unit.
Steve, thanks for everything I really would appreciate that phone number because I am about to call Trane and see if they have a rep in my area who could come out.
Yesterday at first my next door neighbor could not smell anything....then I pushed the thermostat to make sure it went into the second sage, when it did he was in the living room and could smell it, an oily, metallic type smell.
He was the first one to suggest to the drain hose and make sure the drain was clean, etc...I hear the water coming out of the furnace, and cannot smell anything, drain looks clean.
My crazy question is....why did all of this start to happen after I heard that High Pitch noise from the blower. Would it really take 4 years for my duct work to start smelling all of a sudden.
I am having someone come out and clean out my duct work, to eliminate any type of dirt problems. Do you need that serial number, since it was a bitch just getting that top panel back into place...took 5 tries :)
HELP!!!!!!! Also would the furnace people have the right equipment to take that static pressure test you were talking about? Another question...I noticed just now that the pvc pipe leading into the drain is dripping water in it, but now wondering what that plastic hose is for since it smells, is dirty and when I put my nose down there and could smell a kinda gas smell...and noticed water still in the drain, but it's probably water that's in the trap. I think I will dump a bucket of water down there and see what it does. So again....should water be coming out of the plastic hose as well as the PVC hose or not and what is the plastic hose for because it is dirty, but don't think it's clogged up.
Thanks again.

I have a call in to the Tech and he is trying to get a phone # for the local distributer so they can refer you to a contractor who is knowledgeable enough to find the problem and resolve the issue.

The smell could be coming from the motor but usually only if it is running hot (poor duct/restricted duct can do it ) A static pressure or heat rise through the furnace can help diagnos that.

The only issue I see (it has nothing to do with the furnace smell) is the drain off the a/c coil - Drains should not be reduced - that 3/8 vynil house will plug easily and should be 3/4 pvc like the white pipe from the funace drain.
You might want to call TRAne, I havent heard from my service tech yet. He is probably slammed with calls from the weekend.

The duct is unlikely but a possibility since it can cause (overtime) the motor to run hot and then start to fail and cause other more drastic problems. I would hold off on duct cleaning. The duct carries the odor, probably is not causing it directly.

The high pitch noise is probaly the cause/start of the problem. If a bearing is locked or not turning properly, it can cause a drag on the motor - that causes it to run hot and on second stage will increase speed and run hotter still. it also is running longer on second stage which can increase the odds that the motor or some part of it is failing.

The serial # is on the tag you sent a picture of


Steven Lewis said:
You might want to call TRAne, I havent heard from my service tech yet. He is probably slammed with calls from the weekend.

The duct is unlikely but a possibility since it can cause (overtime) the motor to run hot and then start to fail and cause other more drastic problems. I would hold off on duct cleaning. The duct carries the odor, probably is not causing it directly.

The high pitch noise is probaly the cause/start of the problem. If a bearing is locked or not turning properly, it can cause a drag on the motor - that causes it to run hot and on second stage will increase speed and run hotter still. it also is running longer on second stage which can increase the odds that the motor or some part of it is failing.

The serial # is on the tag you sent a picture of

Great. now I don't have to open any more doors.
I checked the hose and PVC pipe going into the drain, I can hear water dripping in, but the plastic hose is pretty dirty and don't see but can feel air coming out of it.
I can also see that the drain still has a bit of water in it, but that is probably water caught in the trap below, I will put some fresh water down there. When I do put my nose by the drain, I do smell something like gas...the drain is very close to the Water Heater. so I am about to call the gas co. just to be safe.
Again, just what is that plastic hose suppose to do, as said, I feel air, put something up in it and came out with crude.
And (as if I haven't asked you enough questions) what did you think of our removing the plenum idea, on two sides. I know I may not get to the motor but maybe i can get to some wires for testing, or actually the tech can do that.
As for the static pressure you mentioned, would the tech have the right equipment to take this test or do I need to request it?
I'm off to my a Trane rep...if your guy comes up with one, please let me know.
Thanks, Thanks, not really sure how to thank you.
The drain handles the condenstae water from the A/C evap coil. It will have crud in it from the summer. Not related to your curreent problem. Should have atrap in it as well. The larger pipe is the drain from the recup coil on the furnace and you should have water in that.

I would tell whoever comes out that you want to have a static pressure of the system taken. We carry digital manometers but thats cause we are PROFFESSIONALS ( LOL) I would have them do a Temp Rise as well and they can be performed at the same time.

As to thanks, none is needed. At some time, I do not know when, I will come to you and ask for a favor and you will grant it. Meanwhile, act as if you do not know me especially if the feds come calling LOL

Have a Great Day

I would not remove the plenum. all the wires you need to check are behind the top door and connect to the control board. There is a check out procedure for the motor that most homeowners cannot accomplish but is fairly simple. The Tech will/should have the procedures or a test kit with him to check the motor.


Steven Lewis said:
The drain handles the condenstae water from the A/C evap coil. It will have crud in it from the summer. Not related to your curreent problem. Should have atrap in it as well. The larger pipe is the drain from the recup coil on the furnace and you should have water in that.

I would tell whoever comes out that you want to have a static pressure of the system taken. We carry digital manometers but thats cause we are PROFFESSIONALS ( LOL) I would have them do a Temp Rise as well and they can be performed at the same time.

As to thanks, none is needed. At some time, I do not know when, I will come to you and ask for a favor and you will grant it. Meanwhile, act as if you do not know me especially if the feds come calling LOL

Have a Great Day

I would not remove the plenum. all the wires you need to check are behind the top door and connect to the control board. There is a check out procedure for the motor that most homeowners cannot accomplish but is fairly simple. The Tech will/should have the procedures or a test kit with him to check the motor.

I don't know anyone named Steve, Steven :)
Just emailed Trane and hope some kind of rep will get back to me, but not holding my breath. I should not be having these types of problems with a 4 year old furnace. I just looked the furnace was installed 3/06...started having problems 11/06 4 inducer motors later completed 11/07. But of course all at no charge.
Now they tell me it will cost me well over a $1000 to install a new blower and not sure about the cost of other items, but damn, this thing is not that old, I should not be having these problems so soon, especially when I read about people replacing their 25 year old furnace.
The last guy that came out here, the one that said gas smells were normal, couldn't smell anything, told me I could put the highest rated filter in my furnace and it would adjust itself...well he is no longer allowed in here, and actually either is this company. I am about to put a stop on the credit card charge and looking forward to a battle.
So really not sure what to do next, but hopefully hear from a Trane Rep soon...and how to figure out if I contact another HVAC guy, did he go to a Trane class, does he know basically what you know, etc. So, yes , if they guy you contacted does get back to you within a day or two and he feels confident that the contractor knows what he is doing...please don't hesitate to get back to me, since at this point I have trust issues with just how to find the right HVAC person.

Also, as an engineer, my specialty is in electronics, several degrees. Any questions, just ask.
Oh. if this guy does get back to you, would you need my zip code so he might be in my area...and how do I get that to you...I have no problem putting it on this site.

Thanks.
Trane will get back to you. They are more responsive than most companies but it will have to go to several people first. They may send it to the local distributer to handle so be patient if you can.

If the furnace is 4 yrs old the parts should be covered under warranty (5 yr ) The complete motor is VERY EXPENSIVE but you probably wont need the entire assembly. The main parts can be replaced without replacing the entire motor. Bearings can be replaced easily as well as the control module located on the back of the motor, armature and I see no reason why you would ever need to replace the magnets.

The labor will not be warrantied unless you have an extended warranty purchased at the time of sale.

Gas smells are not normal unless you eat beans

I have your address in IL if you didnt falsify your profile. Click on the name of the person replying and then click on their pic and it will take you to their profile on this site. So I know the general area you are in


Steven Lewis said:
Trane will get back to you. They are more responsive than most companies but it will have to go to several people first. They may send it to the local distributer to handle so be patient if you can.

If the furnace is 4 yrs old the parts should be covered under warranty (5 yr ) The complete motor is VERY EXPENSIVE but you probably wont need the entire assembly. The main parts can be replaced without replacing the entire motor. Bearings can be replaced easily as well as the control module located on the back of the motor, armature and I see no reason why you would ever need to replace the magnets.

The labor will not be warrantied unless you have an extended warranty purchased at the time of sale.

Gas smells are not normal unless you eat beans

I have your address in IL if you didnt falsify your profile. Click on the name of the person replying and then click on their pic and it will take you to their profile on this site. So I know the general area you are in

Hopefully they Trane will respond quickly since it was installed, looks like 3/06.
Didn't falsify anything, that way I get to keep my gun permit. :)
Threw a bucket of water down the drain by the furnace...gas smell seems to have gotten better, so not sure if it was really gas or just stale water sitting in the trap that was causing the gas fumes.
I am going to have my neighbors come over again tonight to see if they can still smell....THE SMELL!!!! I can, but not as much, but furnace has been running all day. I believe this is day number 6 with problem. Saturday my girlfriend told me to get some parakeets (like they did for mines), I told her that's why I invited her over for dinner...my arm is still sore.
So first move is to wait for Trane...if you have any pull or strings with them, the sooner the better.
So now, I go and click on your name then picture...here goes.
Again,Thanks. And I am assuming you are an HVAC tech. I will have at least one last question for you probably tomorrow.


Bruce Gold said:


Steven Lewis said:
Trane will get back to you. They are more responsive than most companies but it will have to go to several people first. They may send it to the local distributer to handle so be patient if you can.

If the furnace is 4 yrs old the parts should be covered under warranty (5 yr ) The complete motor is VERY EXPENSIVE but you probably wont need the entire assembly. The main parts can be replaced without replacing the entire motor. Bearings can be replaced easily as well as the control module located on the back of the motor, armature and I see no reason why you would ever need to replace the magnets.

The labor will not be warrantied unless you have an extended warranty purchased at the time of sale.

Gas smells are not normal unless you eat beans

I have your address in IL if you didnt falsify your profile. Click on the name of the person replying and then click on their pic and it will take you to their profile on this site. So I know the general area you are in

Hopefully they Trane will respond quickly since it was installed, looks like 3/06.
Didn't falsify anything, that way I get to keep my gun permit. :)
Threw a bucket of water down the drain by the furnace...gas smell seems to have gotten better, so not sure if it was really gas or just stale water sitting in the trap that was causing the gas fumes.
I am going to have my neighbors come over again tonight to see if they can still smell....THE SMELL!!!! I can, but not as much, but furnace has been running all day. I believe this is day number 6 with problem. Saturday my girlfriend told me to get some parakeets (like they did for mines), I told her that's why I invited her over for dinner...my arm is still sore.
So first move is to wait for Trane...if you have any pull or strings with them, the sooner the better.
So now, I go and click on your name then picture...here goes.
Again,Thanks. And I am assuming you are an HVAC tech. I will have at least one last question for you probably tomorrow.
Ok...just check and yep, you have my right city. We are now friends too...just like facebook. And since you don't live that far from me, I see a visit to Chicago very soon....like before March :)


Steven Lewis said:
You might want to call TRAne, I havent heard from my service tech yet. He is probably slammed with calls from the weekend.

The duct is unlikely but a possibility since it can cause (overtime) the motor to run hot and then start to fail and cause other more drastic problems. I would hold off on duct cleaning. The duct carries the odor, probably is not causing it directly.

The high pitch noise is probaly the cause/start of the problem. If a bearing is locked or not turning properly, it can cause a drag on the motor - that causes it to run hot and on second stage will increase speed and run hotter still. it also is running longer on second stage which can increase the odds that the motor or some part of it is failing.

The serial # is on the tag you sent a picture of

Just so we are on the same page, I have had people smell thru the ducts and could not smell that odor. It was more like they were standing in the middle of the living room and I would be right in the hallway, and then they could smell it.
But will not have the ducts cleaned....because you said not to, just yet :)

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