When troubleshooting HVAC problems, you might see the term “blower motor” and wonder what that means. This critical element serves as the lungs of your heating and cooling system. The blower motor powers the circulation of heated and cooled air, so that your home stays comfortable throughout the year.
It's not necessary that you appreciate every detail of your HVAC system to keep it working 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 operates the fan that blows air through your home and pulls it back into the HVAC for reheating or cooling. The varieties of HVAC systems that have blower motors include furnaces, air conditioners, heat pumps and ductless mini-splits.
When your thermostat detects the temperature falling out of the set 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 usually placed in the base of the unit next to the air filter.
- An air conditioner generally shares the furnace’s blower motor to deliver cool air in the warm months.
- A heat pump blower motor is located in the air handler, the interior portion of this single-unit heating and cooling appliance.
- A ductless mini-split blower motor is found 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 implies, runs at one speed and shuts off when the desired temperature is achieved.
- A variable-speed motor operates at a range of speeds, modifying the speed to changes in heating and cooling desires. This is usually the quieter, more energy-efficient option for homeowners. It also provides 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 perpetrator. Look for these signs of a bad blower motor:
- Weak or no airflow from vents: Weak airflow makes your home heat or cool more slowly, creating discomfort and inefficiency. A complete lack of airflow might be a sign of total motor failure, which calls for immediate evaluation from an skilled HVAC professional like the team at Stark Services.
- Peculiar noises: Abnormal 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 failure.
- 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 expenses: A blower motor that has to operate harder than necessary because of an underlying issue consumes more electricity. 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 trigger a full system breakdown if not addressed promptly.
What Causes Blower Motor Failure?
A blower motor can break down for many reasons, including:
- Moisture buildup: Water in the wrong places can result in catastrophe for your blower motor. Moisture can corrode metal components and trigger electrical shorts that can gravely impact the motor’s performance.
- Debris accumulation: Dust and dirt clogging components 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 issues can lead to system inefficiencies and require immediate repair.
- Temperature control problems: If the motor can’t properly moderate 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 sporadic motor operation or a total breakdown.
- Old age: Like any mechanical equipment, blower motors have a fixed life span. As they get older, parts wear out and failure becomes more likely.
Get Help Troubleshooting Blower Motor Problems from Stark Services
At Stark Services, nothing is of greater importance to us than your comfort. We offer years of experience, emergency services and a 100% satisfaction guarantee. If your blower motor is giving you problems, or you want to prevent future problems before they occur, please contact Stark Services. We’ll diagnose and fix the problem so you can enjoy a comfortable home environment all year. Schedule your appointment today by calling 817-668-6689!