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Lighthouse 01-06-2010 06:35 PM

American Standard Freedom 90 Blower Problem?
Came home from work and the house smells like gas/burnt plastic. Went downstairs to check the furnace and I hear (a motor) running and the ventilation leading from the furnace is warm/hot to the touch. I am not an expert or even an amateur regarding furnaces but I would like to check a few things before I call the HVAC man and pay big bucks.

It seems the unit is working but the blower may not be or at least air is not being pushed in the vents. Is this what is causing the bad smell in the house? Heat being generated but not getting blown?

I have an American Standard Freedom 90 circa 1998. How do I remove the panel to check out. What safety precautions should I do before poking around?

Is there a schematic for my furnace model? Thanks for any advice. I apologize in advance for not asking pertainent questions as I simply do not know what to ask other than describe the situation.

Update: I went to thermostat and lowered the temperature. Furnace turned off. Went back and increased temp on thermostat and the furnace runs but again no air being pushed through the vents. Turned thermostat fan to on and again nothing. Is there a breaker switch on my furnace? If so where so I can check to see if that has been switched? Thanks.

DangerMouse 01-06-2010 07:28 PM

Hi and welcome to the forum.
I agree with you. Sounds to me also like the blower isn't kicking in for whatever reason.


DangerMouse 01-06-2010 07:30 PM

Check your breaker box to see it it's tripped first. If not, then I'd open the panel on the furnace and see if there is a reset button on the blower.
From there, well.... could be toasted blower motor, or any number of other things.
The guys here are pretty good, they'll get you fixed up most likely.


Lighthouse 01-06-2010 07:47 PM

Thanks for the reply Danger. Is there a breaker on the furnace? or do you mean the main breaker for the house? I spoke with someone who will be coming out tomorrow evening. Gonna be a cold night LOL!! Anyway, it also sounded like the blower to this person too. He said if it is the blower then it can cost around $500 - $1000. Does this sound right?

DangerMouse 01-06-2010 07:59 PM

the house breaker panel, just see if it's tripped there first.
and some motors have a reset button on them, it could be that. set the switch on the thermostat to auto.


Lighthouse 01-06-2010 08:03 PM

Nope the breaker was not tripped. Tried to look for reset button but only saw a button that caused a light to flash slowly. Looks like the HVAC man is coming in 30 minutes. Again if it is the blower is $500 - $1000 reasonable if it is the blower? American Standard High Efficiency Freedom 90 (1998). Thanks.

beenthere 01-06-2010 08:03 PM

Could b the motor. or just a bad capacitor.

With power turned off. Look in the blower compartment. look for an oval canister. look to see if its bulged. if it is. Its bad.

If you have a VS blower. Then you won't have a capacitor.

Price of motor and to change it out varies greatly with area. And motor size and type.

Marty S. 01-06-2010 08:17 PM

Burnt plastic smell could well be the circuit board fried.

Lighthouse 01-06-2010 08:33 PM

Hope not, but I think it is due to burner coming on and the blower not working but then again I am not an expert. A fried board does not sound good... keeping my fingers crossed as the tech should be here soon. After I get the diagnosis I will post to see who had the right answer hahaa....

Lighthouse 01-06-2010 10:40 PM

Okay here is the conclusion. HVAC tech came over at 9:00 pm and left at 11:15 pm so 2.5 hours of work. The smell in the house was generated by the blower motor due to being burnt out. The blower motor had to be replaced with a 3/4 hp motor. Apparently one of the bigger motors out there. Including the service fee to come out, total was $444.

Man what a night... Hope this can help out others who may come home to a house smelling like burnt plastic and cold air.

beenthere 01-07-2010 04:55 AM

Plus his driving time.
And its an after hours call. Not a bad price.

DangerMouse 01-07-2010 05:57 AM

you mean I was actually RIGHT for once? wow!


beenthere 01-07-2010 06:02 AM


Originally Posted by DangerMouse (Post 378199)
you mean I was actually RIGHT for once? wow!



We're making you into an HVACer. :)

ekimmo 10-11-2010 10:07 PM

Same problem, but a different cause
Gentlemen: I have the exact same furnace and problem, but a different cause. Our basement flooded with clean ground water about 18 inches, and we left the furnace alone to completely dry out. Now we try to start it, and everything works well, except that the blower never comes on. The heat builds up from the burners and turns itself off after about a minute or two. The lower half of the control board I know was under water, but feel that the real problem is the blower motor. Question: If a motor is under water for a day, can it be saved without buying a whole new motor?

beenthere 10-12-2010 03:39 AM


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