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What Is a Blower Motor?

When troubleshooting HVAC problems, you possibly could see the term “blower motor” and wonder what that means. This crucial part of your HVAC serves as the lungs of your heating and cooling system. The blower motor powers the flow of heated and cooled air, so that your home stays comfortable all year-round.

You don’t have to appreciate every detail of your HVAC system to keep it running 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 powers the fan that blows air around the inside of your home and pulls it back into the HVAC for reheating or cooling. The types of HVAC systems that utilize 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 is alerted by your system. This turns on the fan, blowing hot or cold air out of the unit, through the ductwork—or right 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 depends on the type of system:

  • A furnace blower motor is commonly placed in the base of the unit next 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 within the air handler, the indoor portion of this single-unit heating and cooling system.
  • A ductless mini-split blower motor is situated inside 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 choose 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 achieved.
  • A variable-speed motor operates at a range of speeds, modifying the speed to changes in heating and cooling desires. This is usually the quieter, more energy-efficient option for homeowners. It also features more consistent indoor temperatures for greater comfort.

Signs of a Blower Motor Gone Bad

If your home isn’t feeling as comfy as normal, your blower motor might be the perpetrator. Look for these signals of a bad blower motor:

  • Weak or no airflow from vents: Limited airflow makes your home heat or cool more slowly, causing discomfort and inefficiency. A complete lack of airflow might suggest total motor failure, which calls for swift evaluation from an skilled HVAC professional like the team at Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing.
  • Odd noises: Abnormal 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 signal impending breakdown.
  • Concerning odors: A burning smell could indicate an overheating motor, a significant issue requiring fast intervention to prevent the problem from getting worse.
  • Increased energy costs: A blower motor that works harder than necessary because of an underlying issue consumes more energy. This inefficiency can cause a marked surge in your energy bills.
  • HVAC unit overheating: Overheating can happen when the motor struggles due to friction or a mechanical issue. This can cause a complete system breakdown if not addressed quickly.

What Causes Blower Motor Failure?

A blower motor can fail for several reasons, including:

  • Moisture buildup: Water in the wrong areas can be a big problem for your blower motor. Moisture can corrode metal parts and trigger electrical shorts that can significantly 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 minimize friction in the motor. When they wear out, they overwork the motor, leading to early failure.
  • Blower motor resistor or fan concerns: Issues with the resistor or fan can affect how the motor responds to demands for more or less air. These challenges can create system inefficiencies and require professional repair.
  • Temperature control problems: If the motor can’t effectively moderate the temperature, it could begin to run constantly, which can cause wear and tear and eventually failure.
  • Electrical challenges: Defective wiring or other electrical issues can lead to intermittent motor operation or a complete breakdown.
  • Old age: Like any mechanical device, blower motors have a limited life expectancy. 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 critical to us than your comfort. We offer years of experience, emergency services and a 100% satisfaction guarantee. If your blower motor is giving you problems, or you want to avoid future problems before they occur, 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 long. Schedule your appointment today by calling 866-397-3787!

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