The heating cycle of a furnace starts with drawing air into the unit. The air is then forced through a heat exchanger and distributed through your home's air ducts. There's a small fan unit inside the furnace that draws the air in as a start to this cycle, and that fan is called a draft inducer. Since the draft inducer is such an important part of your furnace operation, it's important that you know the trouble signs before the unit fails completely. Here are some tips to help you spot and address a problematic draft inducer.

Two Common Draft Inducer Trouble Signs

When all is running right, you shouldn't really notice the draft inducer at all. Unfortunately, when there's a problem with it, that's a whole different experience. Here are two key signs that there's a problem with your draft inducer:

  • You Hear The Inducer Motor But The Furnace Doesn't Engage – if your inducer motor and fan are running but the furnace doesn't start running, that means there's probably a clog in the vent pipe or an accumulation of condensate in the draft inducer. In either situation, you'll need a furnace repair technician, such as Adams Plumbing & Heating, to help you.
  • You Can't Hear the Inducer Motor At All – If you don't hear the draft inducer engage at all or you only hear it engage part of the time, you may need to have it replaced. You can evaluate its condition by feeling the case around the inducer motor. If the case feels warm to the touch, that is a sign that the motor is burning out and needs to be replaced.

Removing the Old Draft Inducer

Before you do any work with the furnace, shut it down by turning off the breaker panel. Then, you'll want to allow the furnace to cool down for an hour or two before you work on it.

Mark each of the hoses connected to the draft inducer with masking tape so you can write on the tape strips. Assign a letter or number to each hose, then write down where on the inducer each hose connects. That way, you can connect the new inducer properly.

Disconnect the drain tube and vent pipe from the unit by pulling them off. Use a screwdriver to remove the mounting screws holding the unit in place, then remove the inducer.

Installing the New Draft Inducer

You'll need to mount the new inducer in the same place as the old one. If your new inducer unit came with a silicone or rubber gasket, make sure you put that gasket in place between the inducer and the furnace first. Then, secure the mounting screws to hold the unit in place.

Follow your notes to make sure that you reconnect the hoses and wiring in the right places. Then, attach the vent pipe and the drain tube. Turn the power back on to see if this fixes your problem.

If this doesn't resolve the issue, you'll need to call a furnace technician for troubleshooting.