When troubleshooting HVAC issues, you might see the term “blower motor” and wonder what it means. This critical part of your HVAC serves as the lungs of your heating and cooling system. The blower motor powers the movement of heated and cooled air, making sure your home stays comfortable throughout the year.
You don't have to know 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 disperses air through 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 feels the temperature falling out of the programmed comfort zone, the blower motor is alerted by your system. 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 inside 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 found 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 circulate cool air in the summer cooling season.
- A heat pump blower motor is located within the air handler, the indoor portion of this single-unit heating and cooling device.
- A ductless mini-split blower motor is situated within 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 indicates, operates 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 normally the quieter, more energy-efficient option for homeowners. It also features more consistent indoor temperatures for improved comfort.
Signs of a Blower Motor Gone Bad
If your home [isn’t feeling|doesn’t feel|suddenly isn’t]129] as comfortable as normal, your blower motor might be the reason. 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, leading to discomfort and inefficiency. A complete absence of airflow might mean total motor failure, which calls for prompt evaluation from an knowledgeable HVAC professional like the team at Stevenson Service Experts.
- Odd noises: Strange sounds like grinding or squealing may be warning signs of worn-out bearings or a misaligned motor. These noises are not only irritating but can indicate impending malfunction.
- Concerning aromas: A burning smell could indicate an overheating motor, a significant 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 utilizes more electricity. 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 full system breakdown if not addressed promptly.
What Causes Blower Motor Failure?
A blower motor can break down for numerous reasons, including:
- Moisture buildup: Water in the wrong places can be a big problem for your blower motor. Moisture can corrode metal parts and trigger electrical shorts that can severely impact the motor’s operation.
- Debris accumulation: Dust and dirt blocking parts of the motor can cause it to overheat or fail altogether.
- Worn-out bearings: Bearings decrease friction in the motor. When they wear out, they overwork the motor, leading to early 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 troubles can result in system inefficiencies and require immediate repair.
- Temperature control problems: If the motor can’t properly manage the temperature, it might run constantly, which can cause wear and tear, and eventually failure.
- Electrical challenges: Defective 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 expectancy. As they get up there in years, parts wear out and failure becomes more likely.
Get Help Troubleshooting Blower Motor Problems from Stevenson Service Experts
At Stevenson Service Experts, 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 giving you problems, or you want to ward off future problems before they start, please contact Stevenson Service Experts. We’ll identify and fix the problem so you can enjoy a comfortable home environment all year. Schedule your appointment today by calling 614-334-3192!