What Is a Blower Motor?

When troubleshooting HVAC problems, you may read the term “blower motor” and wonder what it means. This essential component functions 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 all the time.

You don’t need to understand every detail of your HVAC system to keep it working smoothly. Still, 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 runs the fan that disperses air through your home and forces it back into the HVAC for reheating or cooling. The kinds of HVAC systems that use blower motors include furnaces, air conditioners, heat pumps and ductless mini-splits.

When your thermostat feels the temperature falling out of the ideal comfort zone, the blower motor is alerted by your system. This turns on the fan, pushing 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 varies according to the type of system:

    • A furnace blower motor is commonly found in the base of the unit near the air filter.
    • An air conditioner generally shares the furnace’s blower motor to deliver cool air in the summer.
    • A heat pump blower motor is located in the air handler, the interior portion of this single-unit heating and cooling appliance.
    • A ductless mini-split blower motor is found inside 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 shuts 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 demands. This is generally the quieter, more energy-efficient choice for homeowners. It also features more consistent indoor temperatures for enhanced comfort.

Signs of a Blower Motor Gone Bad

If your home suddenly isn’t as comfortable as usual, your blower motor might be the perpetrator. Look for these indications of a bad blower motor:

    • Weak or no airflow from vents: Insufficient airflow makes your home heat or cool more slowly, causing discomfort and inefficiency. A complete loss of airflow might suggest total motor failure, which calls for immediate evaluation from an experienced HVAC professional like the team at Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing.
    • Peculiar 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 indicate impending failure.
    • Concerning aromas: A burning smell could indicate an overheating motor, a major issue requiring prompt intervention to prevent the problem from worsening.
    • Increased energy bills: A blower motor that runs harder than necessary because of an underlying issue consumes more power. This inefficiency can cause a significant spike in your energy bills.
    • HVAC unit overheating: Overheating can occur when the motor struggles due to friction or a mechanical difficulty. This can trigger a total system breakdown if not addressed promptly.

What Causes Blower Motor Failure?

A blower motor can break down for numerous reasons, including:

    • Moisture buildup: Water in the wrong places can be a big problem for your blower motor. Moisture can corrode metal components and lead to electrical shorts that can gravely impact the motor’s performance.
    • Debris accumulation: Dust and dirt blocking parts of the motor can cause it to overheat or fail completely.
    • Worn-out bearings: Bearings decrease friction in the motor. When they wear out, they overwork the motor, resulting in premature failure.
    • Blower motor resistor or fan concerns: Trouble with the resistor or fan can influence how the motor responds to demands for more or less air. These challenges can result in system inefficiencies and require immediate repair.
    • Temperature control problems: If the motor can’t correctly manage the temperature, it may instead run constantly, which can cause wear and tear and eventually failure.
    • Electrical challenges: Bad wiring or other electrical issues can lead to intermittent motor operation or a total breakdown.
    • Old age: Like any mechanical device, blower motors have a limited 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 more critical to our team than your comfort. We offer years of experience, emergency response and a 100% satisfaction guarantee. If your blower motor is giving you problems, or you want to prevent future problems before they occur, please contact Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing. We’ll identify 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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