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- By marol
Now that winter has arrived, many homeowners are struggling with common furnace problems. One of those problems we often hear about involves the furnace blower motor.
A variable speed fan motor constantly delivers air for heating and cooling, which has a significant impact on efficiency. In the summer when the air conditioner is running the same fan motor runs, in the winter when the furnace is running. It is not surprising that this active component sometimes requires maintenance.
Ignoring a blower motor repair will only make the problem worse over time and more expensive to fix. Failure to repair the blower motor in a timely manner could result in overheating of other components in the system or complete failure of the furnace.
In this article, we answer some frequently asked questions about furnace blower motors, including:
- How does a furnace blower motor work?
- How long do furnace blower motors last?
- How do I know if my furnace blower motor is bad?
- Should I replace my furnace blower motor or replace my whole furnace?
What Is a Furnace Blower Motor?
A furnace fan motor is an electric fan that rotates the fan blades using a belt. This motor works with your furnace to distribute cool air to keep your home warm during the winter months.
What Does a Blower Motor Do?
Fan motors affect how quickly your furnace can heat up. If your heating system takes too long to heat up, you will spend more money than necessary on your energy bill because your unit will run longer than necessary. A fan motor also helps circulate heated or cooled air throughout the home by pushing cold air into the vents and expelling hot air.
Where Is a Furnace Blower Motor Located?
In older furnaces, the squirrel cage rotor is powered by a motor-driven fan mounted on the side of the fan. In this old type of furnace, the rotational movement from the motor spindle to the fan spindle is transmitted via a belt. With this type, the motor and fan are separate components, so repairs or replacements can involve either the motor or the fan, or both together.
Direct drive designs are used in newer furnaces. The motor shaft directly drives the fan wheel. These types require no adjustment or replacement of the fan belt and the motor and fan can be connected as a single unit. The fan wheel can be driven via a belt, chain or gear. The motor is either integrated into the fan wheel or mounted at the end.
With this design, the fan assembly can usually be removed and replaced separately. However, some versions are installed as one-piece units that must be separated and reassembled.
How Long Does a Furnace Blower Motor Last?
Blower motors are designed to last as long as your furnace itself, 10 to 20 years. As with any HVAC system, the better your equipment is serviced and serviced by experienced HVAC technicians, the longer it will last and the fewer repairs you will need to make.
Common Signs Your Furnace Blower Motor is Bad
Like other heating components in your HVAC system, the fan motor can wear out over time. If the fan malfunctions, the central heating and cooling system will not be able to do its job.
Watch for these signs that your furnace fan motor is having problems:
Grinding or Screeching Sound
Furnace fans are designed to operate smoothly and be well lubricated for many years. If your furnace fan is making a grinding or screeching noise, it may mean that the motor bearings have worn out the gears inside the assembly.
Sometimes the furnace fans can stop working. This means that sometimes they work well, but sometimes they stop altogether. You may even not hear from them for a long time. When this happens, there is usually a problem with the fan motor itself or another part of your furnace that controls it.
Problems include dirty filters, defective cables, poor power supply and a defective limit switch or capacitor. You can test your limit switch with a multimeter and clean the fan motor wire coils. If this doesn’t work, you may need to replace your furnace fan motor.
After a Few Hours, Furnace Stops Running
Sometimes, if the problem is not with the fan motor itself, such as an overheated limit switch or an overloaded capacitor, the problem manifests itself in the form of stop signs in your heating system. If this happens, you will not experience intermittent problems throughout the day, but your furnace will stop working after several hours of operation at the latest.
This may be due to excessive accumulation of dust particles inside the fan, causing overheating due to insufficient airflow. If you suspect overheating, clean your fan with compressed air.
Unusual Odors or Burning Smells
You may notice a strange smell or burning smell coming from your furnace. However, if it is particularly harmful to your health, the smell can even spread throughout the house. This is often a sign that there is a problem with the motor itself or one of the other parts of the fan. Check the device for visible signs of damage to prevent further problems from occurring in the future.
Clean your furnace fan regularly and change the filters when necessary. In some cases, replacing your furnace blower motor can completely solve the problem. However, depending on the original cause of the problem, it may be necessary to replace other parts.
Replace a Blower Motor or Buy a New Furnace?
Age, like many other decisions when it comes to repairing or replacing something, plays an important role. When it comes to investing in protection, many consumers are unsure whether repair or replacement is the best value.
The older a furnace is, the more likely you are to save money by replacing the entire heating system rather than paying for constant repairs. Newer models are more energy efficient, so you’ll spend less money on heating bills each year.
When it comes to replacing a fan motor, a qualified HVAC technician, after a thorough inspection, will help you determine the pros and cons of your existing furnace and make the best decision for your budget and your home.
Reliable Roanoke Furnace Blower Motor Repair!
If your furnace is making strange noises and experiencing an unexplained breakdown, your fan motor could be the cause. Trust the national heating and cooling technicians at Wisler Plumbing, HVAC & Electrical for all your furnace needs.
Whether you need to install a new fan motor or a completely new furnace system, we have the experience and expertise to provide you with the best home heating service.
To schedule an appointment with one of our comfort specialists, call (540) 483-9382 or find your nearest Wisler Plumbing, HVAC & Electrical here.