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What Is a Blower Motor?

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

It’s not necessary that you appreciate every detail of your HVAC system to keep it working smoothly. Still, 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 powers the fan that circulates air around the inside of your home and pulls it back into the HVAC for reheating or cooling. The kinds 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 set 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 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 located in the base of the unit close to the air filter.
  • An air conditioner typically shares the furnace’s blower motor to circulate cool air in the summer cooling season.
  • A heat pump blower motor is located in the air handler, the interior portion of this single-unit heating and cooling system.
  • 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 kinds of blower motors can help you find the right option for your home comfort needs.

  • A single-speed motor, as the name indicates, works at one speed and turns 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 desires. This is normally the quieter, more energy-efficient choice for homeowners. It also features more consistent indoor temperatures for enhanced comfort.

Signs of a Blower Motor Gone Bad

If your home doesn’t feel as cozy as it usually does, 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: Weak 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 prompt evaluation from an skilled 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 annoying but can indicate impending failure.
  • Concerning aromas: A burning smell could indicate an overheating motor, a major issue requiring fast intervention to prevent the problem from worsening.
  • Increased energy costs: A blower motor that runs harder than necessary because of an underlying issue consumes more power. This inefficiency can cause a significant increase in your utility bills.
  • HVAC unit overheating: Overheating can happen when the motor struggles due to friction or a mechanical issue. This can bring on a complete system breakdown if not addressed in a timely manner.

What Causes Blower Motor Failure?

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

  • Moisture buildup: Water in the wrong places can be a big problem for your blower motor. Moisture can corrode metal components and cause electrical shorts that can significantly impact the motor’s performance.
  • Debris accumulation: Dust and dirt clogging pieces of the motor can cause it to overheat or fail entirely.
  • Worn-out bearings: Bearings decrease friction in the motor. When they wear out, they overwork the motor, resulting in premature failure.
  • Blower motor resistor or fan concerns: Problems with the resistor or fan can influence how the motor responds to demands for more or less air. These troubles can result in system inefficiencies and require Expert repair.
  • Temperature control problems: If the motor can’t correctly manage the temperature, it could begin to run constantly, which can cause wear and tear and eventually failure.
  • Electrical challenges: Bad wiring or other electrical malfunctions 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 critical 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 prevent future problems before they occur, please contact Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing. We’ll identify and solve the problem so you can enjoy a comfortable home environment again. Schedule your appointment today by calling 866-397-3787!

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