When troubleshooting HVAC issues, you may read the term “blower motor” and wonder what that means. This essential component functions as the lungs of your heating and cooling system. The blower motor powers the flow of heated and cooled air, so that your home stays comfortable during the whole year.
You don’t need to understand every detail of your HVAC system to keep it running smoothly. However, 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 runs the fan that circulates air around the inside of your home and forces it back into the HVAC for reheating or cooling. The types of HVAC systems that have 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 springs into action. 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 exact location can be in different places depending on the type of system:
- A furnace blower motor is usually placed in the base of the unit near the air filter.
- An air conditioner most of the time shares the furnace’s blower motor to distribute cool air in the summer cooling season.
- A heat pump blower motor is located within the air handler, the in-house portion of this single-unit heating and cooling system.
- A ductless mini-split blower motor is located 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 ideal option for your home comfort needs.
- A single-speed motor, as the name suggests, operates 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 desires. This is normally the quieter, more energy-efficient choice for homeowners. It also provides more consistent indoor temperatures for enhanced 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. Keep an eye out for these signals of a bad blower motor:
- Weak or no airflow from vents: Limited airflow makes your home heat or cool more slowly, causing discomfort and inefficiency. A complete loss of airflow might mean total motor failure, which calls for immediate evaluation from an seasoned HVAC professional like the team at Barlow Service Experts.
- Odd 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 point to impending breakdown.
- Concerning smells: A burning smell could indicate an overheating motor, a major issue requiring fast intervention to prevent the problem from getting worse.
- Increased energy costs: A blower motor that has to operate harder than necessary because of an underlying issue consumes more power. This inefficiency can cause a marked surge in your energy bills.
- HVAC unit overheating: Overheating can happen when the motor struggles due to friction or a mechanical difficulty. This can bring on a total system breakdown if not addressed quickly.
What Causes Blower Motor Failure?
A blower motor can go bad for several reasons, including:
- Moisture buildup: Water in the wrong places can be a big problem for your blower motor. Moisture can corrode metal elements and trigger electrical shorts that can gravely impact the motor’s operation.
- Debris accumulation: Dust and dirt blocking pieces of the motor can cause it to overheat or fail altogether.
- Worn-out bearings: Bearings minimize friction in the motor. When they wear out, they overwork the motor, causing premature failure.
- Blower motor resistor or fan concerns: Trouble with the resistor or fan can affect how the motor responds to demands for more or less air. These challenges can lead to system inefficiencies and require skilled repair.
- Temperature control problems: If the motor can’t correctly moderate the temperature, it could begin to run all the time, which can cause wear and tear, and eventually failure.
- Electrical challenges: Defective wiring or other electrical problems can lead to intermittent motor operation or a full-blown breakdown.
- Old age: Like any mechanical product, blower motors have a finite life expectancy. As they get up there in years, materials within them wear out and failure becomes more likely.
Get Help Troubleshooting Blower Motor Problems from Barlow Service Experts
At Barlow Service Experts, nothing is more critical to our team than your comfort. We offer years of experience, emergency services and a 100% satisfaction guarantee. If your blower motor is having issues, or you want to avoid future problems before they begin, reach out to Barlow Service Experts. We’ll diagnose and solve the problem so you can enjoy a comfortable home environment again. Schedule your appointment today by calling 801-436-8985!