Actuators are mechanical devices that convert energy into motion. They supply and transmit a measured amount of energy for the operation of a mechanism or system such as valves or dampers. They take energy introduced - a burst of air, electricity, or a liquid - and trigger a controlled reaction such as opening or closing a valve or damper. In addition to electromechanical actuators, other types include linear, pneumatic, rotary, and solenoid.
Electromechanical actuators use electricity to block, clamp or eject energy in order to move or control motors, pumps, switches and valves. Electromechanical actuators are popular as they are inexpensive to manufacture and, therefore, sell cheaply. Other advantages include: that operations can be automated, they are self-contained mechanisms, and display identical behavior whether extending or retracting. An important disadvantage is that they contain many moving parts that are prone to wear.
Furnace Electromechanical Actuators
Electromechanical actuators are used in furnace blower and damper operating mechanisms. They open and close the vents as needed to blow hot air into the house and to expel gases to the outside. When the thermostat calls for heat, the electromechanical actuator is energized and drives the damper to its fully-opened position. Once this condition has been achieved, the actuator de-energizes, the pilot ignition system energizes, and the main burners ignite. After reaching the appropriate temperature, the operation is restarted to close the damper. The actuator then remains idle until the next heating cycle.
How to Buy a Replacement Electromechanical Actuator
Electromechanical actuators may be purchased through plumbing and heating stores and online through replacement parts vendors. Contractors can also supply actuators but will need the following specifications to ensure the correct actuator is selected: voltage requirement, number of connection wires, terminal designation wires, ambient temperature range needed, power method, and the specific damper size. The approximate cost is $50.