What Is a Blower Motor?

When troubleshooting HVAC issues, you possibly could run across the term “blower motor” and wonder how that fits into your system. This critical element serves as the lungs of your heating and cooling system. The blower motor powers the flow of heated and cooled air, ensuring your home stays comfortable during the whole year.

It’s not necessary that you understand every detail of your HVAC system to keep it running smoothly. But, understanding a little 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 powers the fan that blows air throughout your home and pulls it back into the HVAC for reheating or cooling. The varieties of HVAC systems that use 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, forcing hot or cold air out of the unit, through the ductwork—or right 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 specific 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 near the air filter.
  • An air conditioner most of the time shares the furnace’s blower motor to circulate cool air in the warm months.
  • A heat pump blower motor is located in the air handler, the in-house portion of this single-unit heating and cooling device.
  • A ductless mini-split blower motor is located within the wall-mounted unit, often behind the air handler casing.

Types of Blower Motors

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

  • A single-speed motor, as the name implies, runs at one speed and powers off when the desired temperature is achieved.
  • A variable-speed motor operates at a range of speeds, adjusting the speed to changes in heating and cooling requirements. This is generally the quieter, more energy-efficient alternative for homeowners. It also provides more consistent indoor temperatures for improved comfort.

Signs of a Blower Motor Gone Bad

If your home doesn’t feel as cozy as it usually does, your blower motor might be the culprit. Keep an eye out for these signs of a bad blower motor:

  • Weak or no airflow from vents: Weak airflow makes your home heat or cool more slowly, causing discomfort and inefficiency. A complete loss of airflow might indicate total motor failure, which calls for swift 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 irritating but can point to impending breakdown.
  • Concerning aromas: A burning smell may indicate an overheating motor, a significant issue requiring prompt intervention to prevent the problem from worsening.
  • Increased energy costs: A blower motor that runs harder than necessary because of an underlying issue burns more energy. This inefficiency can cause a marked increase in your utility bills.
  • HVAC unit overheating: Overheating can happen when the motor struggles due to friction or a mechanical difficulty. This can lead to a total system breakdown if not addressed promptly.

What Causes Blower Motor Failure?

A blower motor can fail for several reasons, including:

  • Moisture buildup: Water in the wrong places can be a big problem for your blower motor. Moisture can corrode metal elements and cause electrical shorts that can severely impact the motor’s performance.
  • Debris accumulation: Dust and dirt blocking parts of the motor can cause it to overheat or fail altogether.
  • Worn-out bearings: Bearings reduce friction in the motor. When they wear out, they overwork the motor, resulting in early failure.
  • Blower motor resistor or fan concerns: Trouble with the resistor or fan can alter how the motor responds to demands for more or less air. These issues can cause system inefficiencies and require professional repair.
  • Temperature control problems: If the motor can’t properly regulate the temperature, it could begin to run constantly, which can cause wear and tear and eventually failure.
  • Electrical challenges: Faulty wiring or other electrical malfunctions can lead to irregular motor operation or a total breakdown.
  • Old age: Like any mechanical equipment, blower motors have a finite life span. As they get older, 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 of greater importance to our team than your comfort. We offer years of experience, emergency repairs and a 100% satisfaction guarantee. If your blower motor is acting up, or you want to prevent future problems before they begin, please contact Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing. We’ll diagnose and fix the problem so you can enjoy a comfortable home environment all year. Schedule your appointment today by calling 866-397-3787!

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