What Is a Blower Motor?

When troubleshooting HVAC problems, you might run across the term “blower motor” and wonder how that fits into your system. This crucial part of your HVAC acts as the lungs of your heating and cooling system. The blower motor powers the flow of heated and cooled air, ensuring your home stays comfortable all the time.

It’s not necessary that you understand every detail of your HVAC system to keep it running 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 through your home and draws it back into the HVAC for reheating or cooling. The varieties 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 programmed 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 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 actual 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 generally 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 interior 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 select the best option for your home comfort needs.

  • A single-speed motor, as the name suggests, works at one speed and shuts off when the desired temperature is reached.
  • A variable-speed motor operates at a range of speeds, modifying the speed to changes in heating and cooling requirements. This is normally the quieter, more energy-efficient option 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 cozy as normal, your blower motor might be the culprit. Watch out for these indications 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 loss of airflow might be a sign of total motor failure, which calls for swift evaluation from an seasoned HVAC professional like the team at Sunbeam Service Experts.
  • Weird 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 point to impending failure.
  • Concerning smells: A burning smell may indicate an overheating motor, a serious issue requiring fast intervention to prevent the problem from intensifying.
  • Increased energy bills: A blower motor that runs harder than necessary because of an underlying issue burns more power. This inefficiency can cause a noticeable spike in your electric bills.
  • HVAC unit overheating: Overheating can happen when the motor struggles due to friction or a mechanical issue. This can lead to a full system breakdown if not addressed quickly.

What Causes Blower Motor Failure?

A blower motor can go bad for many reasons, including:

  • Moisture buildup: Water in the wrong areas can result in catastrophe for your blower motor. Moisture can corrode metal elements and trigger electrical shorts that can gravely impact the motor’s performance.
  • Debris accumulation: Dust and dirt clogging pieces 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, causing premature failure.
  • Blower motor resistor or fan concerns: Issues 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 immediate repair.
  • Temperature control problems: If the motor can’t effectively manage the temperature, it might run constantly, which can cause wear and tear and eventually failure.
  • Electrical challenges: Bad wiring or other electrical problems can lead to irregular motor operation or a complete breakdown.
  • Old age: Like any mechanical equipment, blower motors have a limited working life. As they get older, materials within them wear out and failure becomes more likely.

Get Help Troubleshooting Blower Motor Problems from Sunbeam Service Experts

At Sunbeam Service Experts, nothing is more important to us 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 avoid future problems before they start, reach out to Sunbeam 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 716-427-6807!

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