What Is a Blower Motor?
When troubleshooting HVAC issues, you may see the term “blower motor” and wonder how that fits into your system. This critical component functions as the lungs of your heating and cooling system. The blower motor powers the movement of heated and cooled air, ensuring your home stays comfortable during the whole year.
It's not necessary that you know every detail of your HVAC system to keep it running smoothly. But, 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 powers the fan that distributes air around the inside of your home and draws 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 senses the temperature falling out of the ideal 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 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 found in the base of the unit close to the air filter.
- An air conditioner generally shares the furnace’s blower motor to deliver 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 device.
- 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 best 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 desires. This is normally the quieter, more energy-efficient alternative for homeowners. It also features more consistent indoor temperatures for greater comfort.
Signs of a Blower Motor Gone Bad
If your home [isn’t feeling|doesn’t feel|suddenly isn’t]129] as comfortable as usual, your blower motor might be the culprit. Watch out for these warning signs 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 indicate total motor failure, which calls for immediate evaluation from an experienced HVAC professional like the team at Orangutan Home Services.
- Weird noises: Abnormal sounds like grinding or squealing are often warning signs of worn-out bearings or a misaligned motor. These noises are not only aggravating but can point to impending failure.
- Concerning smells: A burning smell could indicate an overheating motor, a serious 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 uses more power. This inefficiency can cause a significant increase in your electric bills.
- HVAC unit overheating: Overheating can occur when the motor struggles due to friction or a mechanical problem. This can lead to a total system breakdown if not addressed promptly.
What Causes Blower Motor Failure?
A blower motor can fail for several reasons, including:
- Moisture buildup: Water in the wrong spots can result in catastrophe for your blower motor. Moisture can corrode metal hardware and lead to electrical shorts that can significantly impact the motor’s ability to run.
- Debris accumulation: Dust and dirt plugging up parts of the motor can cause it to overheat or fail completely.
- Worn-out bearings: Bearings decrease friction in the motor. When they wear out, they overwork the motor, resulting in 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 Expert repair.
- Temperature control problems: If the motor can’t effectively regulate the temperature, it may instead run continuously, which can cause wear and tear, and eventually failure.
- Electrical challenges: Defective wiring or other electrical issues can lead to intermittent motor operation or a complete breakdown.
- Old age: Like any mechanical product, blower motors have a fixed life span. As they age, parts wear out and failure becomes more likely.
Get Help Troubleshooting Blower Motor Problems from Orangutan Home Services
At Orangutan Home Services, nothing is more critical 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 ward off future problems before they occur, please contact Orangutan Home Services. We’ll identify and solve the problem so you can enjoy a comfortable home environment all year long. Schedule your appointment today by calling 602-906-0111!