What Is a Blower Motor?

When troubleshooting HVAC issues, you may read the term “blower motor” and wonder what it means. This critical component acts as the lungs of your heating and cooling system. The blower motor powers the circulation of heated and cooled air, so that your home stays comfortable during the whole year.

You don’t have to know every detail of your HVAC system to keep it working smoothly. But, understanding at least something about the blower motor simplifies operation and occasional troubleshooting.

What Does a Blower Motor Do?

The blower motor in a forced-air heating and cooling system operates the fan that distributes air through your home and draws it back into the HVAC for reheating or cooling. The kinds of HVAC systems that utilize blower motors include furnaces, air conditioners, heat pumps and ductless mini-splits.

When your thermostat detects the temperature falling out of the programmed comfort zone, the blower motor is notified to do something about it. This turns on the fan, blowing hot or cold air out of the unit, through the ductwork—or directly from the air handler in the case of a ductless system—and inside your living space.

Where Is the Blower Motor Found?

The blower motor’s exact location can be in different places depending on the type of system:

  • A furnace blower motor is usually located in the base of the unit next to the air filter.
  • An air conditioner most of the time shares the furnace’s blower motor to distribute cool air in the summer.
  • A heat pump blower motor is located within the air handler, the in-house portion of this single-unit heating and cooling appliance.
  • A ductless mini-split blower motor is positioned within the wall-mounted unit, often behind the air handler casing.

Types of Blower Motors

Understanding the two main types of blower motors can help you choose the best option for your home comfort needs.

  • A single-speed motor, as the name suggests, operates at one speed and powers off when the desired temperature is achieved.
  • A variable-speed motor operates at a range of speeds, modifying the speed to changes in heating and cooling requirements. This is usually the quieter, more energy-efficient option for homeowners. It also features more consistent indoor temperatures for greater comfort.

Signs of a Blower Motor Gone Bad

If your home isn’t feeling as cozy as usual, your blower motor might be the reason. Look for these signs of a bad blower motor:

  • Weak or no airflow from vents: Weak airflow makes your home heat or cool more slowly, leading to discomfort and inefficiency. A complete lack of airflow might suggest total motor failure, which calls for immediate evaluation from an skilled HVAC professional like the team at Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing.
  • Weird noises: Abnormal sounds like grinding or squealing may be warning signs of worn-out bearings or a misaligned motor. These noises are not only annoying but can signal impending failure.
  • Concerning smells: A burning smell could indicate an overheating motor, a major issue requiring fast intervention to prevent the problem from getting worse.
  • Increased energy costs: A blower motor that runs harder than necessary because of an underlying issue utilizes more power. This inefficiency can cause a marked surge in your electric bills.
  • HVAC unit overheating: Overheating can happen when the motor struggles due to friction or a mechanical issue. This can bring on a total system breakdown if not addressed in a timely manner.

What Causes Blower Motor Failure?

A blower motor can go bad for several reasons, including:

  • Moisture buildup: Water in the wrong areas can be a big problem for your blower motor. Moisture can corrode metal hardware and cause electrical shorts that can severely impact the motor’s operation.
  • Debris accumulation: Dust and dirt clogging components of the motor can cause it to overheat or fail completely.
  • Worn-out bearings: Bearings minimize friction in the motor. When they wear out, they overwork the motor, leading to premature failure.
  • Blower motor resistor or fan concerns: Problems with the resistor or fan can alter how the motor responds to demands for more or less air. These challenges can cause system inefficiencies and require immediate repair.
  • Temperature control problems: If the motor can’t correctly manage the temperature, it could begin to run continuously, which can cause wear and tear and eventually failure.
  • Electrical challenges: Defective wiring or other electrical problems can lead to sporadic motor operation or a full-blown breakdown.
  • Old age: Like any mechanical device, blower motors have a limited life span. As they age, materials within them wear out and failure becomes more likely.

Get Help Troubleshooting Blower Motor Problems from Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing

At Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing, nothing is more critical to our staff than your comfort. We offer years of experience, emergency response and a 100% satisfaction guarantee. If your blower motor is acting up, or you want to prevent future problems before they begin, you can count on Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing. We’ll diagnose and solve the problem so you can enjoy a comfortable home environment all year long. Schedule your appointment today by calling 866-397-3787!

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