What Is a Blower Motor?

When troubleshooting HVAC problems, you might see the term “blower motor” and wonder how that fits into your system. This essential element serves as the lungs of your heating and cooling system. The blower motor powers the movement of heated and cooled air, ensuring your home stays comfortable all the time.

You don’t have to understand every detail of your HVAC system to keep it operating 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 operates the fan that blows air around the inside of your home and forces 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 ideal comfort zone, the blower motor is notified to do something about it. This turns on the fan, forcing 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 depends on the type of system:

  • A furnace blower motor is usually located in the base of the unit next to the air filter.
  • An air conditioner typically 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 appliance.
  • A ductless mini-split blower motor is positioned within 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 select the right option for your home comfort needs.

  • A single-speed motor, as the name indicates, works at one speed and shuts off when the desired temperature is achieved.
  • 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 alternative for homeowners. It also features 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 perpetrator. Look for these signals of a bad blower motor:

  • Weak or no airflow from vents: Insufficient airflow makes your home heat or cool more slowly, causing discomfort and inefficiency. A complete absence of airflow might be a sign of total motor failure, which calls for swift evaluation from an knowledgeable 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 irritating but can signal impending breakdown.
  • Concerning smells: A burning smell might indicate an overheating motor, a major issue requiring timely intervention to prevent the problem from getting worse.
  • Increased energy bills: A blower motor that works harder than necessary because of an underlying issue consumes more power. 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 problem. This can bring on a full system breakdown if not addressed promptly.

What Causes Blower Motor Failure?

A blower motor can fail for many reasons, including:

  • Moisture buildup: Water in the wrong areas can spell trouble for your blower motor. Moisture can corrode metal parts and cause electrical shorts that can significantly impact the motor’s operation.
  • Debris accumulation: Dust and dirt blocking components 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 impact how the motor responds to demands for more or less air. These challenges can cause system inefficiencies and require Expert repair.
  • Temperature control problems: If the motor can’t properly manage the temperature, it could begin to run continuously, which can cause wear and tear and eventually failure.
  • Electrical challenges: Faulty wiring or other electrical issues can lead to irregular motor operation or a complete breakdown.
  • Old age: Like any mechanical device, blower motors have a finite 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 our staff 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 begin, 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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