What Is a Blower Motor?

When troubleshooting HVAC issues, you possibly could run across the term “blower motor” and wonder what it means. This essential part of your HVAC acts as the lungs of your heating and cooling system. The blower motor powers the movement of heated and cooled air, making sure your home stays comfortable all the time.

You don’t need to know every detail of your HVAC system to keep it running smoothly. But, 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 powers the fan that blows air around the inside of your home and pulls it back into the HVAC for reheating or cooling. The kinds of HVAC systems that utilize 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 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 usually 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 warm months.
  • A heat pump blower motor is located in the air handler, the indoor portion of this single-unit heating and cooling device.
  • 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 styles of blower motors can help you choose the ideal option for your home comfort needs.

  • A single-speed motor, as the name reveals, operates at one speed and turns 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 requirements. This is generally the quieter, more energy-efficient choice 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 comfy as it usually does, your blower motor might be the culprit. Keep an eye 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 lack of airflow might indicate total motor failure, which calls for swift evaluation from an seasoned HVAC professional like the team at Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing.
  • Peculiar noises: Unusual sounds like grinding or squealing are often warning signs of worn-out bearings or a misaligned motor. These noises are not only annoying but can signal impending breakdown.
  • Concerning smells: A burning smell could indicate an overheating motor, a significant issue requiring timely intervention to prevent the problem from worsening.
  • Increased energy costs: A blower motor that has to operate harder than necessary because of an underlying issue burns more energy. 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 difficulty. This can lead to a complete system breakdown if not addressed promptly.

What Causes Blower Motor Failure?

A blower motor can fail for several reasons, including:

  • Moisture buildup: Water in the wrong spots can spell trouble for your blower motor. Moisture can corrode metal elements and lead to electrical shorts that can severely impact the motor’s operation.
  • 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, resulting in premature failure.
  • Blower motor resistor or fan concerns: Problems with the resistor or fan can influence how the motor responds to demands for more or less air. These issues can cause system inefficiencies and require skilled repair.
  • Temperature control problems: If the motor can’t properly control the temperature, it might run all the time, 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 working life. As they age, 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 our team than your comfort. We offer years of experience, emergency response and a 100% satisfaction guarantee. If your blower motor is acting up, or you want to prevent future problems before they start, you can count on Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing. We’ll identify and mend 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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