What Is a Blower Motor?

When troubleshooting HVAC problems, you may read the term “blower motor” and wonder what it means. This essential component acts as the lungs of your heating and cooling system. The blower motor powers the flow of heated and cooled air, making sure your home stays comfortable all the time.

You don’t need to understand every detail of your HVAC system to keep it running smoothly. However, 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 runs the fan that circulates air around the inside of your home and forces 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 ideal 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 straight from the air handler in the case of a ductless system—and to 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 commonly found in the base of the unit close to the air filter.
  • An air conditioner most of the time shares the furnace’s blower motor to circulate cool air in the summer cooling season.
  • A heat pump blower motor is located inside the air handler, the indoor portion of this single-unit heating and cooling appliance.
  • A ductless mini-split blower motor is located in 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, works at one speed and shuts off when the desired temperature is reached.
  • A variable-speed motor operates at a range of speeds, adapting the speed to changes in heating and cooling desires. This is generally the quieter, more energy-efficient alternative for homeowners. It also offers more consistent indoor temperatures for greater comfort.

Signs of a Blower Motor Gone Bad

If your home isn’t feeling as comfy as it usually does, your blower motor might be the reason. Look for these signals of a bad blower motor:

  • Weak or no airflow from vents: Insufficient airflow makes your home heat or cool more slowly, creating discomfort and inefficiency. A complete absence of airflow might suggest 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: Unusual sounds like grinding or squealing could be warning signs of worn-out bearings or a misaligned motor. These noises are not only annoying but can indicate impending malfunction.
  • Concerning odors: A burning smell could indicate an overheating motor, a major issue requiring fast intervention to prevent the problem from intensifying.
  • Increased energy bills: A blower motor that runs harder than necessary because of an underlying issue consumes more power. This inefficiency can cause a noticeable spike in your energy bills.
  • HVAC unit overheating: Overheating can take place when the motor struggles due to friction or a mechanical issue. This can trigger a complete 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 elements and trigger electrical shorts that can gravely impact the motor’s performance.
  • Debris accumulation: Dust and dirt clogging parts of the motor can cause it to overheat or fail altogether.
  • Worn-out bearings: Bearings decrease friction in the motor. When they wear out, they overwork the motor, leading to early 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 troubles can lead to system inefficiencies and require professional repair.
  • Temperature control problems: If the motor can’t effectively moderate the temperature, it may instead run constantly, which can cause wear and tear and eventually failure.
  • Electrical challenges: Bad wiring or other electrical problems can lead to sporadic motor operation or a complete breakdown.
  • Old age: Like any mechanical product, blower motors have a finite life expectancy. As they get up there in years, 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 important to our staff than your comfort. We offer years of experience, emergency response and a 100% satisfaction guarantee. If your blower motor is having issues, or you want to ward off future problems before they begin, you can count on Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing. We’ll evaluate the issue and solve 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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