blown blower motor

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A couple weeks ago I went on vacation to my mother's winter house in Naples, FL. Their house has two A/C systems, one for the master bedroom suite and one for the rest of the house. The bedroom system worked fine, but the main system didn't seem to be blowing air out. I found the air handlers in the garage attached to the ceiling. The condenser units were outside of the garage. The main condenser had ice built up on the insulated freon line. I went inside and turned off the system and let it defrost over the next few hours.
I called my mother and let her know what was happening. She had me call the HVAC contractor which had installed the system 8 years ago. The technician showed up that evening and diagnosed it as a blown fan motor. Cost of repair $1200 for a universal motor. Yes, it was out of warranty. This was a Trane system, although I don't know the model.
Considering the system is barely used 6 months out of the year, this seems rather poor longevity for a blower motor. It also seems rather expensive.
Any thoughts?
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wrote:

yes and yes.
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Something is missing from the story. We just had a similar problem with a vacation home likewise in Florida. In the end the blower motor cost (retail) a bit over $300 plus tax. (local purchase in DFW would have been $168 from Granger). Labor was three hours. Nowhere near $1200.
What else was listed on the service report?
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If those motors are brass bushings bearings they need to be lubricated begging of every season.

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I'm guessing you typed "beginning" and spell check got you. But, this is more fun. "Please oil me! I'm begging you, oil! I need oil!"
Christopher A. Young Learn more about Jesus www.lds.org .
If those motors are brass bushings bearings they need to be lubricated begging of every season.

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I've had the heater blowers in a couple old cars do just that to me! (at least, I assume that that's what that horrible screeching noise means...) After a while, I got pretty good at disassembling and reassembling them, although sometimes it still took two old busted motors to make one good one, because if you pulled one of the brass bushings out of its pressed in cage when disassembling (because it was held to the shaft by rust) that end of the case was trash. Guess they weren't meant to last 50 years, or be easily repaired, either.
nate
On 11/01/2012 05:33 PM, Stormin Mormon wrote:

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badgolferman wrote:

Two.
Icing is usually indicative of low freon. If completely iced over, the blower motor can't move any air. Get the freon situation fixed first and see if all is well.
Second, a blower motor should cost in the neighborhood of $300, even for the high-priced spread (Grainger's). If your hand fits a wrench, you should be able to replace it in a couple of hours.
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some manufactuers use special parts that arent available anywhere but the company. A buddy of mine who taught HVAC for many years said trane as one of those, he recommends GOODMAN because they use off the shelf parts
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wrote:

The OP DID say it was for a UNIVERSAL motor - hardly what I would call a specialty part.
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I've heard much the same thing. Trane, and Sears use parts that are dificult to find.
Christopher A. Young Learn more about Jesus www.lds.org .
some manufactuers use special parts that arent available anywhere but the company. A buddy of mine who taught HVAC for many years said trane as one of those, he recommends GOODMAN because they use off the shelf parts
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If the HVAC contractor purchased the blower motor for $300, don't expect him to bill you $300 for it. I've found that the mark-up plumbing contractors in Winnipeg use is anywhere from 100% to 200%, so if the motor cost them $300, they'll charge you from $600 to $900 for it. Add in $150 worth of labour at $90 per hour, and apply taxes to everything, and that's how you end up paying $1200 for a new blower motor.
I find it's best to get the HVAC contractor to determine what's wrong and what parts need to be replaced, and then call him back once you've got the parts he needs. You can buy most any part you need online for prices lower than contractors will get at your local wholesalers.
Here in Winnipeg, an ignition electrode kit for a Weil McLain Ultra 310 boiler costs $115 at my local wholesaler, but I can order it online for about $15 from Pex Supply or other online HVAC supply websites. A blower motor assembly for that same boiler costs $1600 at my local wholesaler, and I purchased one to have on hand should I need one online for about $500. Next time, find out what you need to fix the problem, and order the parts online. That'll save you a big hunk of the cost, with the only risk being that if the parts you supply are defective, then you have to pay the contractor to come back and do an encore performance.
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wrote:

The OP DID say it was for a UNIVERSAL motor - hardly what I would call a specialty part.
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On 11/01/2012 04:02 PM, HeyBub wrote:

If the blower fails to start but the compressor is running, the lines will ice up without necessarily indicating low charge. Had that happen to me last summer - condensate drain clogged up, overflowed, took out the air handler control board, woke up to find the compressor chugging away but no airflow.
Replaced control board and all is well. Cost less than $1200 too but I ended up making work for myself; the furnace is older than dirt and I adapted a newer Honeywell "universal furnace control" which required the addition of a flame sensor rather than buying the separate (and more expensive, and less convenient to use) "fan control board" and "ignitor control board" which were the parts that superseded the parts that superseded the original parts. It's all working well now though.
The not-so-funny thing is that I'd actually blown out the drain lines just a couple months earlier when cleaning the A-coil. Not exactly sure how it got plugged again so quickly?
nate
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On Thu, 1 Nov 2012 18:06:57 +0000 (UTC), "badgolferman"

$1200 is RAPE!!
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wrote:

but is it "legitimate" rape?
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On 11/01/2012 02:06 PM, badgolferman wrote:

Well, you didn't say how old it was... but I've yet to see one fail and I've seen them in service for 20+ years. (or maybe "they don't make 'em like they used to?)
I do think that is a bit extortionate though. Even assuming "list" prices for everything I would guess that the motor might be a couple hundred bucks (which I'd still be offended at, but whatever, that is what it is) plus a minimum say four hour service charge, that's still $7-800 or so not $1200. Heck, I had central air installed in a house that did not previously have it a few years back - new indoor & outdoor units, new thermostat, new wiring, including disconnect and wiring back to breaker panel, new custom sheetmetal work for the plenum, and new electrostatic air filter and IIRC the bill was under $4K.
nate
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wrote:

Hmmmm
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Ed and I get the award for reading comprehension, today.
Christopher A. Young Learn more about Jesus www.lds.org .
wrote:

Hmmmm
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If the contrator installed the system 8 years ago, that should give you an idea how old it is.
Christopher A. Young Learn more about Jesus www.lds.org .
On 11/01/2012 02:06 PM, badgolferman wrote:

Well, you didn't say how old it was...
nate
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On Thu, 1 Nov 2012 18:06:57 +0000 (UTC), "badgolferman"

Yes, but stuff happens. Motors can last for decades, they can go in weeks. The price though, sounds like the service tech wants to fund his retirement. You should be able to have the motor repaired or replaced much cheaper. If you are unsure if the motor works, take it to a nearby motor shop and they will check it in a minute or so.
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