What Is a Blower Motor?

When troubleshooting HVAC problems, you may see the term “blower motor” and wonder what that means. This crucial component serves 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 year-round.

You don’t have to know every detail of your HVAC system to keep it running smoothly. However, 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 runs the fan that blows air through 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 feels the temperature falling out of the ideal comfort zone, the blower motor is notified to do something about it. 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 inside your living space.

Where Is the Blower Motor Found?

The blower motor’s specific location varies according to the type of system:

  • A furnace blower motor is usually placed 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 distribute 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 appliance.
  • A ductless mini-split blower motor is positioned in 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 find the correct option for your home comfort needs.

  • A single-speed motor, as the name implies, operates 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 demands. This is normally the quieter, more energy-efficient alternative 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 comfy as usual, your blower motor might be the perpetrator. Look for these signs 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 suggest total motor failure, which calls for swift evaluation from an seasoned HVAC professional like the team at Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing.
  • Odd noises: Abnormal 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 indicate impending malfunction.
  • Concerning aromas: A burning smell could indicate an overheating motor, a serious issue requiring fast intervention to prevent the problem from worsening.
  • Increased energy expenses: A blower motor that works harder than necessary because of an underlying issue utilizes more energy. This inefficiency can cause a marked surge in your utility bills.
  • HVAC unit overheating: Overheating can occur when the motor struggles due to friction or a mechanical difficulty. This can bring on a full system breakdown if not addressed promptly.

What Causes Blower Motor Failure?

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

  • Moisture buildup: Water in the wrong areas can spell trouble for your blower motor. Moisture can corrode metal elements and lead to electrical shorts that can severely impact the motor’s ability to run.
  • Debris accumulation: Dust and dirt plugging up components of the motor can cause it to overheat or fail completely.
  • Worn-out bearings: Bearings reduce friction in the motor. When they wear out, they overwork the motor, leading to untimely 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 troubles can create system inefficiencies and require professional repair.
  • Temperature control problems: If the motor can’t properly control the temperature, it might run continuously, which can cause wear and tear and eventually failure.
  • Electrical challenges: Defective wiring or other electrical problems can lead to sporadic motor operation or a full-blown breakdown.
  • Old age: Like any mechanical equipment, blower motors have a fixed working life. As they get older, 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 our staff 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 avoid future problems before they occur, reach out to Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing. We’ll diagnose and mend the problem so you can enjoy a comfortable home environment again. Schedule your appointment today by calling 866-397-3787!

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