How To Detect a Motor Blower Problem

While the temperatures don’t drop too far here in Tampa Bay, we still get some chilly nights and mornings during the winter where you’ll want to turn on the heat! But what happens when you go to turn on the heater and your HVAC isn’t working as it should? Well, with a little troubleshooting you may be able to discover the issue, but our team at Super Heat & Air is also just a phone call away!

If your heater isn’t working as it should, here are some signs that the blower motor is malfunctioning, and it might be time to call to get it replaced.

How Furnace Blower Motors Work

The blower motor in your HVAC functions to blow heated or cooled air through the vents in your home. There are two types of drives in furnace blower motors:

Direct Drive:

Most modern gas furnaces use these kinds of motors and are the most common. They connect directly to the furnace blower wheel.

Belt Drive:

These are less common in residential furnaces, though may be found on very old furnaces.

With residential blower motors, there are also two types of speeds:

Single Speed:

These furnace motors blow air full blast at one speed until the target temperature is achieved. When the temperature is reached, the furnace shuts off. It will turn on again when the temperature falls out of range.

Variable Speed:

These furnace motors operate at different speeds and are more energy efficient. (Sounds counterintuitive right?) These motors are better at keeping the temperature of your home evenly distributed. When the temperature falls out of the target range, the variable speed blower will operate at a slower speed. When it needs to warm things up fast, it will operate at a higher speed.

What Can Cause Blower Motor Failure?

Like many of the moving components in your HVAC system, the blower motor can wear down over time and may fail due to overheating or excessive moisture. When debris such as dirt and dust build up inside the motor, it can cause the bearings to work hard and break down more quickly.

Because furnaces are usually installed in the attic, basement, garage, or utility room, they can get clogged with dust or debris or become saturated with moisture. This can cause them to fail due to overworking or electrical faults.

Proper HVAC maintenance can extend the life of your motor blower, so make sure to schedule preventative maintenance at least once a season!

Signs That a Blower Motor Needs to Be Replaced

Here are some sure-fire signs that your furnace motor is malfunctioning and needs to be repaired to replaced.

Poor Airflow from Vents

This is the most obvious sign that there is a problem with your blower motor, but it may not indicate that it has failed and that it will need to be replaced. If no air or weak airflow is coming from your air vents, the motor may be clogged or may be malfunctioning.

There are a couple of reasons why you might have poor airflow including a clogged motor, a bad capacitor, or you may have a leak in your air ducts. If the motor is overheating or is nearing the end of its lifespan, it will likely need to be replaced.

A licensed HVAC technician from Super Heat & Air will be able to diagnose the problem and make the necessary fixes to get proper airflow moving through your system again.

No Airflow from Vents

The blower might be completely broken if you have no air at all coming from your air vents when you turn on your heat. If this happens, a blower motor replacement is likely the only option.

Keep in mind, there could be other reasons for no airflow, such as a bad relay, a faulty thermostat, or a fan control problem.

Skyrocketing Energy Costs

The blower motor consumes the most energy in your HVAC system. If you have a variable-speed blower motor, and it is not clogged, it may be worn down due to usage. But, again, this could also be a sign that your air ducts have a major leak somewhere. The blower motor isn’t always the culprit.

Noises When You Turn on the Heat

If you hear squealing, screeching, rattling, clanking, etc. when your turn on your furnace, call an HVAC pro from Super Heat & Air as soon as possible. Some issues are easily repaired, while others may require an entire blower motor replacement.

Often, these screeching noises indicate bearing problems in direct drive furnaces or belt issues in other furnaces. But if your heating system is making knocking or rattling noises, there may be a broken or damaged part somewhere.

Weird Smells/Overheating Blower

If your blower motor is overheating, there will be clear signs. One is a burning smell that will emanate from your air vents every time you run the heat. Another would be if the blower stops while you are running the heat. This means that your blower motor is overheating, and your system is shutting it down to prevent electrical damage. If this is the case, call Super Heat & Air immediately!

Troubleshoot and Replace a Furnace Blower Motor

If you are experiencing any issues with your furnace’s blower motor, it’s time to call in the pros from Super Heat & Air! We can inspect and troubleshoot your furnace and make any necessary repairs and do a full replacement of the blower motor if required. Plus, we can inspect your ductwork to ensure that your entire system is working efficiently!

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