What Is a Blower Motor?

When troubleshooting HVAC problems, you may read the term “blower motor” and wonder how that fits into your system. This essential 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 year-round.

You don’t have to appreciate every detail of your HVAC system to keep it working smoothly. However, understanding a little 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 runs the fan that blows air around the inside of your home and pulls it back into the HVAC for reheating or cooling. The varieties 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 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 can be in different places depending on the type of system:

  • A furnace blower motor is commonly found in the base of the unit near the air filter.
  • An air conditioner typically shares the furnace’s blower motor to deliver cool air in the warm months.
  • A heat pump blower motor is located within the air handler, the in-house portion of this single-unit heating and cooling device.
  • A ductless mini-split blower motor is found 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 choose the correct option for your home comfort needs.

  • A single-speed motor, as the name reveals, runs at one speed and powers 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 demands. This is normally the quieter, more energy-efficient alternative for homeowners. It also features more consistent indoor temperatures for improved comfort.

Signs of a Blower Motor Gone Bad

If your home suddenly isn’t as comfy as normal, your blower motor might be the culprit. Watch out for these signs of a bad blower motor:

  • Weak or no airflow from vents: Weak airflow makes your home heat or cool more slowly, leading to discomfort and inefficiency. A complete absence of airflow might indicate total motor failure, which calls for immediate evaluation from an seasoned HVAC professional like the team at Stevenson Service Experts.
  • Peculiar noises: Unusual sounds like grinding or squealing may be warning signs of worn-out bearings or a misaligned motor. These noises are not only annoying but can indicate impending breakdown.
  • Concerning smells: A burning smell might indicate an overheating motor, a significant issue requiring timely intervention to prevent the problem from intensifying.
  • Increased energy bills: A blower motor that has to operate harder than necessary because of an underlying issue uses more energy. This inefficiency can cause a significant spike in your electric bills.
  • HVAC unit overheating: Overheating can occur when the motor struggles due to friction or a mechanical difficulty. This can lead to a complete system breakdown if not addressed in a timely manner.

What Causes Blower Motor Failure?

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

  • Moisture buildup: Water in the wrong areas can spell trouble for your blower motor. Moisture can corrode metal components and trigger electrical shorts that can gravely impact the motor’s ability to run.
  • Debris accumulation: Dust and dirt blocking components of the motor can cause it to overheat or fail completely.
  • Worn-out bearings: Bearings reduce friction in the motor. When they wear out, they overwork the motor, causing untimely failure.
  • Blower motor resistor or fan concerns: Issues with the resistor or fan can impact how the motor responds to demands for more or less air. These issues can lead to system inefficiencies and require skilled 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 sporadic motor operation or a total breakdown.
  • Old age: Like any mechanical equipment, blower motors have a limited working life. As they age, materials within them 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 team than your comfort. We offer years of experience, emergency response and a 100% satisfaction guarantee. If your blower motor is having issues, or you want to prevent future problems before they start, reach out to Stevenson Service Experts. We’ll diagnose and solve the problem so you can enjoy a comfortable home environment again. Schedule your appointment today by calling 614-334-3192!

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