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  1. #1

    Variable Speed Furnace Drive Reliability

    I understand there are energy savings to be had by investing in a furnace with a variable speed fan drive however I have been told they are prone to failure and the repair costs are high..... comments, advice ?

    Thanks in Advance Casey

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Office and warehouse in both Crystal River & New Port Richey ,FL
    Posts
    18,836
    They are pricey parts when needed,not prone to failure if installed properly,easily covered by a manufacturers extended warranty for 10 years.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Massachusetts
    Posts
    6,841
    Nope. Sounds to me like someone's either not educated to varibable speed or hasn't had any experience with them. Our company has been installing variable speed products for 15-years now. Of the hundreds and hundreds of furnaces and air handlers we've put in with variable speed, we've replaced exactly 3 motors. One was within 2-months of installation and the motor magnets were cracked and broken, likely the result of rough handling before it was installed in the furnace. The second one was an out and out failure after about 6-years. The 3rd one was also a motor or controller failure (we just replaced the whole assembly) and that furnace was about 10-years old. So if that's a lot of failures, then okay but IMO, that's a darn good track record. Naturally the more that are installed, the higher the failure rate will be with any company but the failure per 1,000,000 hours of operation will remain the same. I've got 2 variable speed products by two different manufacturers in my residence. Not a problem with either one. But yes, I do service both units annually and change air filters more often than that.
    If YOU want change, YOU have to first change.

    If you are waiting for the 'other guy' to change first, just remember, you're the 'other guy's' other guy. To continue to expect real change when you keep acting the same way as always, is folly. Won't happen. Real change will only happen when a majority of the people change the way they vote!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    PA
    Posts
    68,795
    Unfortunately, VS motors are changed out when they are not the problem.

    If you asked a company about VS blowers, and they told you this.
    Its a good sign, they aren't the company you want.

    As earlier, a 10 year parts and labor warranty is always a good idea.
    A VS blower motor is not the most expensive part that can go out on a HP, or A/C.
    The compressor is a lot more exspensive.
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    How many times must one fix something before it is fixed?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    cincinnati ohio
    Posts
    2,024

    savings

    I cant seem to find a chart to show the savings difference on goggle ? Best I can find is 20 percent savings ?
    My avatar is a picture of a Goodman Silencer .....These were commonly used in Goodman country ....Photos by hvac tech ( PaysonHVAC )

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    east central indiana
    Posts
    1,117
    I wouldn't go so far as to say prone to failure... no.
    BUT the motor controller, which can be a spendy item out of warranty, is sensitive to moisture... often these problems can be traced back to install issues. Also they don't like to be installed on a crummy or undersized duct system, you will burn them out... again an install issue of sorts.
    Neither of these two "problems" are really any different than when using a standard PSC motor, it goes back to the way the equipment was installed, sometimes how well it is maintained.

    The only non-install related issue I've personally ever seen on one of these motors is when the home gets hit with a power surge, lightning strike or such. The motor controllers really don't like getting hit with those.
    This space for rent.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Amory Mississippi
    Posts
    1,002
    I would not hesitate to use vs blowers. They are quieter, more efficient and very reliable. I have changed many many more PSC motors than VS. I have never had to change a blower wheel on a VS motor. And of the 3 VS units only one actually had to replace the motor because it was a 14 year old carrier and they no longer made just a module. The other two I replaced modules only and the unit was fine after that.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    cincinnati ohio
    Posts
    2,024

    ecm

    Quote Originally Posted by casey915 View Post
    I understand there are energy savings to be had by investing in a furnace with a variable speed fan drive however I have been told they are prone to failure and the repair costs are high..... comments, advice ?

    Thanks in Advance Casey
    I found a link with a caculator to see the cost difference between the two motors and savings . http://www.energydepot.com/evergreen/ct-2/retroComp.asp
    My avatar is a picture of a Goodman Silencer .....These were commonly used in Goodman country ....Photos by hvac tech ( PaysonHVAC )

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