When troubleshooting HVAC problems, you may run across the term “blower motor” and wonder what it means. This crucial component acts as the lungs of your heating and cooling system. The blower motor powers the circulation of heated and cooled air, ensuring your home stays comfortable all year-round.
It’s not necessary that you know every detail of your HVAC system to keep it running smoothly. Still, 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 distributes air throughout your home and draws 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 senses the temperature falling out of the ideal comfort zone, the blower motor springs into action. 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 into 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 usually found in the base of the unit next to the air filter.
- An air conditioner generally shares the furnace’s blower motor to distribute cool air in the summer.
- A heat pump blower motor is located inside the air handler, the indoor portion of this single-unit heating and cooling system.
- A ductless mini-split blower motor is located 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 right 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, adapting the speed to changes in heating and cooling demands. This is generally the quieter, more energy-efficient option for homeowners. It also offers more consistent indoor temperatures for improved comfort.
Signs of a Blower Motor Gone Bad
If your home isn’t feeling as cozy as usual, your blower motor might be the culprit. Watch out for these signs of a bad blower motor:
- Weak or no airflow from vents: Weak airflow makes your home heat or cool more slowly, causing discomfort and inefficiency. A complete absence of airflow might indicate total motor failure, which calls for immediate 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 annoying but can signal impending failure.
- Concerning smells: A burning smell might indicate an overheating motor, a serious issue requiring prompt intervention to prevent the problem from worsening.
- Increased energy bills: A blower motor that works harder than necessary because of an underlying issue consumes more energy. This inefficiency can cause a noticeable increase in your energy bills.
- HVAC unit overheating: Overheating can occur when the motor struggles due to friction or a mechanical problem. This can lead to a complete system breakdown if not addressed in a timely manner.
What Causes Blower Motor Failure?
A blower motor can fail for several reasons, including:
- Moisture buildup: Water in the wrong places can spell trouble for your blower motor. Moisture can corrode metal components and lead to electrical shorts that can severely impact the motor’s performance.
- Debris accumulation: Dust and dirt clogging parts of the motor can cause it to overheat or fail altogether.
- Worn-out bearings: Bearings reduce friction in the motor. When they wear out, they overwork the motor, leading to premature 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 issues can lead to system inefficiencies and require professional repair.
- Temperature control problems: If the motor can’t properly regulate the temperature, it might run constantly, which can cause wear and tear and eventually failure.
- Electrical challenges: Faulty wiring or other electrical problems can lead to intermittent motor operation or a total breakdown.
- Old age: Like any mechanical device, blower motors have a finite life span. 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 more important to us than your comfort. We offer years of experience, emergency services and a 100% satisfaction guarantee. If your blower motor is acting up, or you want to prevent future problems before they start, please contact Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing. We’ll diagnose and fix the problem so you can enjoy a comfortable home environment all year long. Schedule your appointment today by calling 866-397-3787!