Your AC’s blower motor is responsible for moving air through your air conditioner to cool it and then pushing it back out into your home. Without this incredible component, your AC can’t provide any cooling effect, no matter how much the compressor runs. Discover the different types of blower motors, six signs that you may have a bad one, and how to effectively keep an eye on it to know when it’s struggling.
Understanding Your Motor Type
The first thing to know is that there are different types of blower motors. The type that you have may affect your unit’s efficiency rating and how it performs. Standard air conditioners have a single-speed blower motor, which means it’s either on or off, running on high the entire time. There are two-speed and variable-speed motors as well. Two-speed fans are what they sound like, having a high and low setting. Variable-speed motors have a full range of speed options available to provide the right airflow to keep your home at a consistent and comfortable temperature. High-efficiency systems typically have either a two-speed or variable-speed fan.
Now, let’s look at the signs that you may have a bad motor.
1. Weak Airflow From Your Vents
One of the first signs you may notice is what feels like less air coming from your vents. A clogged air filter can cause this, so check that as a first step. If you have a two- or variable-speed motor, it could just be running on a lower setting, so check your thermostat. If a lower fan setting doesn’t account for the issue, consider scheduling a service call.
2. No Airflow
There are several mechanical problems that may cause no airflow, including a bad thermostat, a bad relay, and a bad capacitor. If it’s your fan motor, you may have experienced other symptoms before it completely failed. Because of the complexity of the system and the components involved, it’s best to schedule a service call with a professional.
3. Unusual and Loud Sounds
A failing blower motor may emit unusual sounds. This may sound like screeching or squealing if it has bad bearings. You may hear a rattle or a banging sound if something inside the motor has broken or come loose.
4. Climbing Utility Bills
There are a number of reasons you may see your utility bills climbing, including increasing energy costs. However, when you see your electricity consumption suddenly climbing, there may be an electrical drain on the system. A failing blower motor may experience additional electrical resistance, which will cause it to consume more energy to make it run.
When your blower motor is struggling, it may start overheating, which is a hazard for many reasons. You may experience a hot or burning smell coming from your vents. If you do, shut down your system immediately to prevent a possible fire, and then schedule a service call to check for what component is causing it. The smell should dissipate once you shut down the system if it’s related to your air conditioner.
6. Tripping Circuit Breaker
Your air conditioner may cause the circuit breaker to trip repeatedly if it’s drawing too much power. A bad blower motor could cause this, but it could also be an issue with the condensing unit fan or the compressor. Do not ignore the problem and continue closing the circuit, but call to have a technician troubleshoot the problem.
Keeping an Eye on Your Blower Motor
The easiest way to keep an eye on the health of your blower motor is through routine AC maintenance. During a maintenance visit, your technician will clean your blower fan cage, balance it, and test the motor. They’ll also lubricate the bearings if it’s not a sealed motor to keep them moving freely. This can get ahead of possible problems over the summer, helping you determine if you need a new motor before you’re left without a functional air conditioner.
People around Harrisburg have trusted the HB Home Service Team to keep their homes comfortable and safe since 1974. Our expert team takes pride in providing heating and AC maintenance, repair, and installation, along with indoor air quality solutions and a full range of residential electrical and plumbing services. Call to schedule your AC maintenance or repair appointment with one of our experienced technicians today.