What Is a Blower Motor?

When troubleshooting HVAC issues, you might read the term “blower motor” and wonder what it means. This crucial element acts as the lungs of your heating and cooling system. The blower motor powers the flow of heated and cooled air, making sure your home stays comfortable all the time.

You don’t have to know every detail of your HVAC system to keep it working 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 operates the fan that circulates air throughout your home and forces it back into the HVAC for reheating or cooling. The varieties 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 to 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 commonly found in the base of the unit close to 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 indoor portion of this single-unit heating and cooling system.
  • A ductless mini-split blower motor is found 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 ideal option for your home comfort needs.

  • A single-speed motor, as the name suggests, works at one speed and shuts off when the desired temperature is reached.
  • 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 choice 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 as comfortable as usual, 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: Limited airflow makes your home heat or cool more slowly, leading to discomfort and inefficiency. A complete lack of airflow might mean total motor failure, which calls for prompt evaluation from an experienced HVAC professional like the team at Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing.
  • Odd noises: Unusual 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 failure.
  • Concerning odors: A burning smell may indicate an overheating motor, a significant issue requiring timely intervention to prevent the problem from worsening.
  • Increased energy bills: A blower motor that has to operate harder than necessary because of an underlying issue utilizes more power. This inefficiency can cause a significant surge in your energy bills.
  • HVAC unit overheating: Overheating can take place when the motor struggles due to friction or a mechanical problem. This can trigger a total system breakdown if not addressed in a timely manner.

What Causes Blower Motor Failure?

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

  • Moisture buildup: Water in the wrong spots can spell trouble for your blower motor. Moisture can corrode metal components and trigger electrical shorts that can severely impact the motor’s operation.
  • Debris accumulation: Dust and dirt plugging up parts of the motor can cause it to overheat or fail completely.
  • Worn-out bearings: Bearings minimize friction in the motor. When they wear out, they overwork the motor, leading to early failure.
  • Blower motor resistor or fan concerns: Problems with the resistor or fan can impact how the motor responds to demands for more or less air. These challenges can lead to system inefficiencies and require immediate repair.
  • Temperature control problems: If the motor can’t effectively control the temperature, it might run constantly, which can cause wear and tear and eventually failure.
  • Electrical challenges: Defective wiring or other electrical malfunctions can lead to irregular motor operation or a complete breakdown.
  • Old age: Like any mechanical equipment, blower motors have a fixed life span. As they get up there in years, 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 more important 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 ward off future problems before they start, reach out to Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing. We’ll identify and mend 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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