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Affect of Drywall and Construction Dust on Motors

Products Affected
All gas furnaces

Forty percent (40%) of failed blower and inducer motors returned through warranty programs failed due to drywall and/or construction dust. The level of dust coating on failed motors indicates the system ran with inadequate filtration during construction

Technical Information
All major manufactures, except one, allow use of gas furnaces during construction provided all requirements are met. Requirements that prevent drywall/construction dust damage are as follows:

  • A permanent vent system is compete and sealed to unit.
  • Air filters are installed and maintained throughout construction.
  • 100% outside combustion air is provided during construction.
  • Heat exchangers, components, duct system, air filter, and coils are thoroughly cleaned following construction.
Failure to follow the requirements for temporary heat during construction can result in the following failure:

Heat Damage: Drywall/construction dust has insulating properties. A coating of dust prevents heat dissipation from the motor. When motors cannot dissipate heat, internal components are damaged.

Bearing Damage: Drywall/construction dust can wick lubricating grease from bearings. When a bearing operates with reduced lubricant, heat from friction expands the bearing, which can lead to locked bearings. Also, drywall dust is highly abrasive. Continual operation of contaminated bearings contaminated will result in premature bearing wear and failure.

Affect on Other Components: Burners, heat exchangers and evaporator coils can be plugged by drywall/construction dust. Control boards can overheat in a manner similar to motors. Vent and drainage systems can become plugged with drywall and construction dust.

In other words, either pay very specific attention to your filters when using a system for temp heat and get the system cleaned after construction is completed OR do not use the heating system for temp heat at all.

-Wes Diskin

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