Where is the blower motor on a furnace? If you have asked yourself that question, your furnace is probably making strange noises or struggling to move warm air effectively to the rooms of your house.
Homeowners and business owners often struggle to deal with HVAC problems, including noises from the furnace, inefficient heating, and sudden heating failure. Georgia Air, Richmond Hill’s furnace maintenance specialists, can help you navigate the components of your home furnace and handle everyday maintenance tasks.
If at any point you are unsure how to proceed during a home heating or cooling maintenance task, don’t risk injury or accidentally damaging your furnace. Call the professionals at Georgia Air for precision furnace repairs in southeast Georgia and the surrounding areas. We support our local community with affordable heating and cooling services and helpful maintenance tips on our blog.
What Does the Blower Do?
The blower is an electric fan that circulates air through the ductwork to heat or cool the various rooms of your house. The ability to move air efficiently is essential for HVAC systems and heat pumps because the heating or cooling system will overwork if the rooms of the house remain too hot or cold. Efficient air circulation helps to prevent dust and debris from settling in the ductwork, which keeps your system cleaner and improves your air quality.
Why Might I Need to Access the Blower Motor?
If your furnace is working properly, the blower motor should cycle on and off during the day when your HVAC system is in heating mode. Typically, the furnace blower motor does not need regular maintenance except for occasional dusting.
However, there are several reasons why a property owner or HVAC specialist would need to access the blower motor aside from regular cleanings.
- To diagnose a whine or grinding noise from the HVAC system
- To determine why the vents in your HVAC system are not producing a strong flow of cool or warm air
- To investigate a sudden failure of the heating or cooling system
If your heating system shuts off due to a safety issue, you might have to reset the ignition for the furnace. In many HVAC systems, the reset button is near the blower motor, so to reset the furnace, it helps to know, “Where is the blower motor on a furnace?”
Finding the Blower Motor
After you disconnect the power to the furnace by flipping its power switch or cutting power at the breaker box, locate an access panel on the side of the furnace. The blower motor is part of the blower assembly that lies within an enclosure with air holes called the enclosure. When you or a technician needs to access the blower motor, an important step is removing the motor from the enclosure.
The exact size and shape of the motor will vary depending on the make and model of the HVAC system, but its shape and construction should be consistent.
Blower motors typically sit near the furnace air filters within the furnace compartment. This is convenient because dirty air filters can cause problems for blower motors, so it is easy to check both at the same time.
Troubleshooting Problems with the Blower Motor
If your blower motor isn’t working, there could be damage to the motor itself, or a part that connects to the blower motor could be at fault. Know the telltale signs of each of the following problems and how to address them.
A Worn-Out Blower Motor
If you suspect you have a worn-out blower motor because of weak airflow and inadequate heating, check for the smell of smoke emanating from your furnace. Carefully check whether the motor has overheated. Visually inspect the motor for signs of damage.
If your blower motor has reached the end of its life, you might have to replace it. Depending on the model, a replacement blower motor can cost about $1,000 or $1,500. Labor for the motor replacement can cost a few hundred dollars.
If the blower motor is struggling to move air, it will risk overheating if it continues to operate. Your blower motor might shut down as a protective measure if the furnace is not getting sufficient airflow due to clogs.
Bearings allow the blower motor to run smoothly to generate air movement without producing excess heat and noise. If the bearings are not working well, some furnaces allow you to oil the ball bearings or replace bad bearings, but in many cases, the entire motor will need replacement.
Damaged Fan Blades
If debris gets into the ductwork and strikes the fan blades, it can scratch or dent a fan blade, causing it to be out of balance or scrape against another part of the motor. In either case, the fan blade will produce noise and heat. If you do not replace the fan blade, it will likely damage the motor or cause it to wear out prematurely.
Blower motors, like just about any other type of motor, will not work well and may fail entirely if they are rusty. Make sure your blower motor and its enclosure have protection against moisture and other potentially dangerous elements.
Before replacing a blower motor, make sure that it connects properly to the electrical system. Look for any frayed wiring, loose wires, or bad connections. As with the blower motor itself, look for signs of excess heat or scorching that could be the result of a spark from arcing electricity.
Your blower motor might not turn on if it does not receive an electrical signal from the thermostat telling it that the rooms in your house are too cold. A technician should check your entire HVAC electrical system when diagnosing a blower motor that won’t turn on.
Blower Motor Repairs
If you are fortunate, you can replace the damaged part or parts without having to replace the entire blower motor. This could save you money, but it will require you to disassemble the motor. Unless you have a great deal of experience in HVAC repair, it is best to leave blower motor repairs to a licensed furnace repair contractor. Naturally, you won’t be able to start repairing the blower motor unless you can answer the question, “Where is the blower motor on a furnace?”
Replacing a Blower Motor
Once you have located the blower motor, identify the type of blower motor, the manufacturer, and the model number so you can order a replacement. Disconnect power to the furnace, and open the access panel. You can disconnect the wiring from the motor, remove the motor from the housing, and install the new motor.
The process can be complex and involves working with the electrical wiring. If you do not replace the blower motor properly, it might not work correctly, and you could inadvertently damage your furnace. For these reasons, and to save your time and energy, most homeowners entrust the task of replacing the blower motor to an HVAC repair technician.
If you replace your blower motor, consider upgrading to a furnace with a variable-speed motor. Unlike a typical motor, variable-speed motors can spin faster or slower depending on your heating and cooling needs. Because they operate more efficiently, they last longer than conventional blower motors and keep energy costs down.
Why Should I Hire a Professional to Fix or Replace My Blower Motor?
You might be tempted to save on labor costs by repairing or replacing your blower motor yourself. However, if you are unfamiliar with the technology in the blower motor and the best safety practices for furnace repair, it is best to call a professional for the repair. If you are at the stage where you are asking, “Where is the blower motor on a furnace?” you will most likely have to learn a bit more and ask more questions before you are ready to take on your first furnace repair project.
DIY repairs on furnace components could void the warranty and complicate the processing of insurance claims if your furnace malfunctions in the future and causes injury or property damage. Your safest bet is to document that a trained and experienced technician carried out any work on your HVAC system.
For High-Quality, Dependable Furnace Service, Call Georgia Air
Repairing or replacing a blower motor won’t be a problem with the experienced team at Georgia Air at your side. Our trained technicians work efficiently to keep labor costs down. We have a large stock of affordable replacement parts, including blower motors and motor compounds. Whether your question is something simple, such as, “Where is the blower motor on a furnace?” or a more complex diagnostic issue, we’re here to help.
Protect your furnace and your family from the long-term consequences of a malfunctioning blower motor. Unless you are an experienced repair technician, don’t take the risk of a DIY repair job. Call the professionals at Georgia Air at (912) 513-3756 for repairs on many types of furnaces.