What Is a Blower Motor?

When troubleshooting HVAC issues, you may read the term “blower motor” and wonder what it means. This essential component functions 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 all the time.

It’s not necessary that you know every detail of your HVAC system to keep it operating smoothly. However, 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 disperses air around the inside of your home and pulls 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 detects 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 to your living space.

Where Is the Blower Motor Found?

The blower motor’s specific location varies according to the type of system:

  • A furnace blower motor is commonly placed in the base of the unit close to the air filter.
  • An air conditioner most of the time shares the furnace’s blower motor to circulate cool air in the summer cooling season.
  • A heat pump blower motor is located in the air handler, the interior portion of this single-unit heating and cooling device.
  • A ductless mini-split blower motor is found in 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, works at one speed and shuts off when the desired temperature is reached.
  • A variable-speed motor operates at a range of speeds, adjusting the speed to changes in heating and cooling requirements. This is generally the quieter, more energy-efficient choice for homeowners. It also provides more consistent indoor temperatures for improved comfort.

Signs of a Blower Motor Gone Bad

If your home isn’t feeling as comfortable as it usually does, your blower motor might be the culprit. 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, leading to discomfort and inefficiency. A complete lack of airflow might mean total motor failure, which calls for immediate evaluation from an knowledgeable HVAC professional like the team at Norrell Service Experts.
  • Peculiar 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 breakdown.
  • Concerning odors: A burning smell could indicate an overheating motor, a serious issue requiring fast intervention to prevent the problem from intensifying.
  • Increased energy costs: A blower motor that works harder than necessary because of an underlying issue uses more energy. This inefficiency can cause a marked surge in your electric bills.
  • HVAC unit overheating: Overheating can occur when the motor struggles due to friction or a mechanical problem. This can trigger a complete system breakdown if not addressed quickly.

What Causes Blower Motor Failure?

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

  • Moisture buildup: Water in the wrong places can spell trouble for your blower motor. Moisture can corrode metal parts and trigger electrical shorts that can gravely impact the motor’s operation.
  • Debris accumulation: Dust and dirt clogging components of the motor can cause it to overheat or fail entirely.
  • Worn-out bearings: Bearings reduce friction in the motor. When they wear out, they overwork the motor, leading to early 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 cause 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 problems can lead to irregular motor operation or a complete breakdown.
  • Old age: Like any mechanical equipment, blower motors have a finite working life. As they get older, parts wear out and failure becomes more likely.

Get Help Troubleshooting Blower Motor Problems from Norrell Service Experts

At Norrell Service Experts, nothing is more critical to us 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 start, reach out to Norrell Service Experts. We’ll identify and mend the problem so you can enjoy a comfortable home environment all year long. Schedule your appointment today by calling 205-267-0023!

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