What Is a Blower Motor?
When troubleshooting HVAC issues, you may run across 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, making sure your home stays comfortable throughout the year.
You don't have to understand every detail of your HVAC system to keep it working 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 powers the fan that disperses air through your home and draws it back into the HVAC for reheating or cooling. The types of HVAC systems that have blower motors include furnaces, air conditioners, heat pumps and ductless mini-splits.
When your thermostat detects the temperature falling out of the set comfort zone, the blower motor springs into action. 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 into your living space.
Where Is the Blower Motor Found?
The blower motor’s specific location depends on the type of system:
- A furnace blower motor is usually found in the base of the unit next to the air filter.
- An air conditioner typically shares the furnace’s blower motor to deliver 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 found in the wall-mounted unit, often behind the air handler casing.
Types of Blower Motors
Understanding the two main styles of blower motors can help you select the correct option for your home comfort needs.
- A single-speed motor, as the name reveals, runs at one speed and powers off when the desired temperature is attained.
- A variable-speed motor operates at a range of speeds, adapting the speed to changes in heating and cooling demands. This is normally the quieter, more energy-efficient choice for homeowners. It also provides more consistent indoor temperatures for improved comfort.
Signs of a Blower Motor Gone Bad
If your home [isn’t feeling|doesn’t feel|suddenly isn’t]129] as cozy as usual, your blower motor might be the reason. Watch out for these indications of a bad blower motor:
- Weak or no airflow from vents: Limited airflow makes your home heat or cool more slowly, creating discomfort and inefficiency. A complete absence of airflow might be a sign of total motor failure, which calls for immediate evaluation from an seasoned HVAC professional like the team at Fras-Air/General Service Experts.
- Weird noises: Strange sounds like grinding or squealing could be warning signs of worn-out bearings or a misaligned motor. These noises are not only irritating but can point to impending failure.
- Concerning odors: A burning smell may indicate an overheating motor, a significant issue requiring fast intervention to prevent the problem from worsening.
- Increased energy expenses: A blower motor that runs harder than necessary because of an underlying issue utilizes more energy. This inefficiency can cause a marked surge in your utility bills.
- HVAC unit overheating: Overheating can occur when the motor struggles due to friction or a mechanical difficulty. This can bring on a full system breakdown if not addressed promptly.
What Causes Blower Motor Failure?
A blower motor can go bad for several reasons, including:
- Moisture buildup: Water in the wrong spots can be a big problem for your blower motor. Moisture can corrode metal hardware and lead to electrical shorts that can significantly impact the motor’s ability to run.
- Debris accumulation: Dust and dirt plugging up components of the motor can cause it to overheat or fail entirely.
- Worn-out bearings: Bearings reduce friction in the motor. When they wear out, they overwork the motor, causing untimely failure.
- Blower motor resistor or fan concerns: Issues with the resistor or fan can influence how the motor responds to demands for more or less air. These issues can result in system inefficiencies and require immediate repair.
- Temperature control problems: If the motor can’t properly manage the temperature, it could begin to run all the time, which can cause wear and tear, and eventually failure.
- Electrical challenges: Defective wiring or other electrical malfunctions can lead to sporadic motor operation or a total breakdown.
- Old age: Like any mechanical equipment, blower motors have a fixed life span. As they get up there in years, elements wear out and failure becomes more likely.
Get Help Troubleshooting Blower Motor Problems from Fras-Air/General Service Experts
At Fras-Air/General Service Experts, nothing is more important to our team than your comfort. We offer years of experience, emergency repairs and a 100% satisfaction guarantee. If your blower motor is having issues, or you want to avoid future problems before they start, you can count on Fras-Air/General Service Experts. We’ll identify and solve the problem so you can enjoy a comfortable home environment again. Schedule your appointment today by calling 908-448-2154!