What Is a Blower Motor?

When troubleshooting HVAC dilemmas, you might run across the term “blower motor” and wonder what that means. This crucial element serves as the lungs of your heating and cooling system. The blower motor powers the flow of heated and cooled air, so that your home stays comfortable throughout the year.

You don’t need to understand every detail of your HVAC system to keep it running smoothly. But, understanding a bit 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 circulates air throughout your home and pulls it back into the HVAC for reheating or cooling. The types 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 set comfort zone, the blower motor is notified to do something about it. This turns on the fan, pushing 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 normally located in the base of the unit near the air filter.
  • An air conditioner typically shares the furnace’s blower motor to deliver cool air in the summer cooling season.
  • A heat pump blower motor is located in the air handler, the indoor 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 kinds of blower motors can help you find the correct option for your home comfort needs.

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

Signs of a Blower Motor Gone Bad

If your home isn’t feeling as comfortable as usual, your blower motor might be the perpetrator. Watch out for these signals 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 absence of airflow might suggest total motor failure, which calls for prompt evaluation from an experienced HVAC professional like the team at Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing.
  • Peculiar noises: Strange sounds like grinding or squealing are often warning signs of worn-out bearings or a misaligned motor. These noises are not only aggravating but can signal impending failure.
  • Concerning aromas: A burning smell may indicate an overheating motor, a serious issue requiring timely intervention to prevent the problem from intensifying.
  • Increased energy bills: A blower motor that works harder than necessary because of an underlying issue utilizes more energy. This inefficiency can cause a marked increase in your utility bills.
  • HVAC unit overheating: Overheating can occur when the motor struggles due to friction or a mechanical problem. This can bring on a full system breakdown if not addressed quickly.

What Causes Blower Motor Failure?

A blower motor can go bad for many 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 ability to run.
  • Debris accumulation: Dust and dirt clogging 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, resulting in untimely failure.
  • Blower motor resistor or fan concerns: Problems with the resistor or fan can affect how the motor responds to demands for more or less air. These challenges can create system inefficiencies and require skilled repair.
  • Temperature control problems: If the motor can’t effectively control the temperature, it may instead run constantly, which can cause wear and tear and eventually failure.
  • Electrical challenges: Defective wiring or other electrical issues can lead to sporadic motor operation or a total breakdown.
  • Old age: Like any mechanical device, blower motors have a limited working life. As they get older, parts 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 us than your comfort. We offer years of experience, emergency repairs and a 100% satisfaction guarantee. If your blower motor is giving you problems, or you want to ward off future problems before they occur, please contact 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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