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Question DetailsAsked on 6/11/2016

What might it cost to replace a furnace blower?

I'm buying a house where inspector picked up on excessive vibration in the blower. This is a split system w/ AC on outside of home and heater in the attic crawl space. It may be the original unit put in by builder 19 years ago.
I need to know if cleaning doesn't do the trick and it is the bearings or something else bad, about how much would it cost to replace. I need to know this today to make a decision on the home. Can you help?

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1 Answer


Assuming your contract has the usual provision for Contingency items after the home inspection, the simple solution is to require replacement of the blower motor (and blower if damaged) by the OWNER as a contingency item to be done before closing. That way the cost variability issue is on him and you don't have to worry about how much it might cost. This sort of repair would not be an unusual contingency item or amount - commonly an entire A/C or furnace replacement is asked for if an old unit, so it should not shock the owner.

If you don't know what contingency items are talk to your realtor, who would be preparing the contigency counteroffer anyway, to be submitted before the deadline for submitting a contingency counteroffer.

Generally, if there is excessive vibration in a HVAC blower, while it might be due to a loose mounting, generally if it is vibrating badly (whether it is due to unbalanced dirty blower fan or bad bearings), the bearings/bushings in the motor are most likely damaged anyway, so better to replace it even if due to a dirty blower fan. In most cases the blower and motor come as a balanced unit, but sometimes not and sometimes available both ways. And after the repair - be sure to check that it is running quietly (humming or whirring only) not vibrating or thumping, which could indicate an incomplete repair or incorrect remounting.

Here are a couple of links to previous questions about cleaning a blower fan or replacing a blower motor - depending on model around $100-200 for cleaning would cover most cases and parts of the country, around $400-500 ballpark most but not all blower unit replacements (which with some models can reach double that):

BTW - if you buy this home, when talking to HVAC contractors in the future about cleaning or repair don't call this a "split" unit, because while the A/C (outdoors except for the evaporator and tubing feeding it) and furnace (indoors) are physically separate, a "split unit" in the trade refers to a mini-split A/C unit where instead of having an evaporator coil (radiator basically) located in the furnace ducting and using the furnace motor to move the air or maybe a separate "air handler box" with fan and evaporator which is then connected into the central heating ductwork. A "split" unit has tubing running from the A/C compressor/condensor outside unit to several indoor evaporator/fan units in different rooms, and does not move the air through the furnace ducting. What you have sounds like conventional Central Air.

(A/C "outdoor unit" is best put outdoors because that part of the unit is what generates the heat (compressor heat) and exhaust the heat removed from the house (the condensor coil and fan) - so it has to be outdoors otherwise the heat that is removed would end up back in the house and you end up with a net GAIN of heat, not cooling).

Also - when talking to contractors - you said furnace is in the attic crawlspace - just say attic or you will confuse contractors/vendors, because "crawlspace" pretty much universally is taken to mean a low space under the house open to outside air - typically a few feet high, and generally (though not always) under4 houses in areas without severe winters. Sometimes in cold areas also refers to a low (typically not more than 4 feet high) enclosed area under a house but not open to the outside air - sometimes under an addition or family room or garage or such, and may connect to a full-height basement under the rest of the house. But say "crawlspace" and they will not be thinking attic, which could affect their response or estimate amount.

Answered 3 years ago by LCD

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