When troubleshooting HVAC problems, you may run across the term “blower motor” and wonder what it means. This critical element 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 during the whole year.
It's not necessary that you understand every detail of your HVAC system to keep it running 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 operates the fan that blows 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 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, pushing 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 inside your living space.
Where Is the Blower Motor Found?
The blower motor’s exact location depends on the type of system:
- A furnace blower motor is commonly found in the base of the unit near the air filter.
- An air conditioner typically shares the furnace’s blower motor to distribute cool air in the warm months.
- 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 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 select the best option for your home comfort needs.
- A single-speed motor, as the name implies, operates 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 desires. This is normally the quieter, more energy-efficient alternative for homeowners. It also offers more consistent indoor temperatures for enhanced comfort.
Signs of a Blower Motor Gone Bad
If your home [isn’t feeling|doesn’t feel|suddenly isn’t]129] as cozy as it usually does, your blower motor might be the culprit. Keep an eye out for these indications 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 lack of airflow might suggest total motor failure, which calls for immediate evaluation from an experienced HVAC professional like the team at Broad Ripple Service Experts.
- Odd noises: Strange sounds like grinding or squealing could be warning signs of worn-out bearings or a misaligned motor. These noises are not only aggravating but can indicate impending malfunction.
- Concerning smells: A burning smell could indicate an overheating motor, a significant issue requiring timely intervention to prevent the problem from worsening.
- Increased energy expenses: A blower motor that runs harder than necessary because of an underlying issue burns more power. This inefficiency can cause a significant increase in your electric bills.
- HVAC unit overheating: Overheating can happen when the motor struggles due to friction or a mechanical issue. This can lead to a full 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 spell trouble for your blower motor. Moisture can corrode metal elements and trigger electrical shorts that can severely impact the motor’s performance.
- Debris accumulation: Dust and dirt clogging pieces 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 untimely failure.
- Blower motor resistor or fan concerns: Issues with the resistor or fan can alter how the motor responds to demands for more or less air. These challenges can create 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: Faulty wiring or other electrical malfunctions can lead to sporadic motor operation or a full-blown breakdown.
- Old age: Like any mechanical product, blower motors have a fixed life span. As they get older, parts wear out and failure becomes more likely.
Get Help Troubleshooting Blower Motor Problems from Broad Ripple Service Experts
At Broad Ripple Service Experts, nothing is more critical to us 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 avoid future problems before they start, please contact Broad Ripple Service Experts. We’ll diagnose and fix the problem so you can enjoy a comfortable home environment all year. Schedule your appointment today by calling 317-527-0271!