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Identifying a Bad Blower Motor

When the blower motor fails, your heating and cooling system will struggle to circulate air and keep a consistent temperature in your home. When this happens, one of the first things you’ll notice is that your home isn’t reaching the temperature set on your thermostat.

Why Is My Blower Motor Not Working?

Over time, you may be dealing with a bad blower motor due to wear and tear. In other cases, dirty HVAC filters or faulty compressor fan blades may be causing the issue. If you hear loud noises or vibrations coming from the indoor blower unit, take a look.

How to check for a bad blower motor

  • Look at your thermostat to see if it's maintaining the temperature you set. If it's not, it could mean there's an issue with your air conditioner.

  • Locate the breaker box and check to see if one of the breakers is flipped to the "off" position. If the breaker is tripped, your outlet and systems won't reveive any power and can't be reset until the breaker is on.

  • Find the filter in your HVAC system. For most systems, it will be next to your furnace on the return side (where the air comes into the system). Depending how your system is oriented, it could also be below the furnace. If you need to remove an access panel to reach the filter, make sure to shut your HVAC system off first.

    Once you've found it, note the direction of the airflow arrow marked on the filter and pull it out. If the filter looks grey, it's time to change it. You may even be able to see the dirt and dust buildup on the filter. Another basic test is to hold the filter up to a light source. If you cannot see light through the filter then air cannot pass through the filter either. Standard 1" thick air filters should be replaced at 2 month intervals under normal operating conditions. Media air filters are 4"-5" thick and should be checked at 6 months, if OK continue using it for no more than 1 year.

    CAUTION: Always turn the power to your furnace off if you need to remove panels or handle parts inside the furnace.

  • When the blower motor in your air conditioiner isn't working, it isn't able to circulate air within the system, which can cause your air conditioning coils to freeze. To find out whether this has occurred, check for ice on or around the unit. Most of the time the ice will form on the pipes leading to the system.

  • While your water heater is running, look into the top of your water heater. Is the fan blade turning? If not, this means that your system isn't running. A non-functioning fan blade is likely the result of a bad capacitor or broken blower motor, because without the power that your capacitor provides, the fan blade will not run.

  • When your system is running, do you smell a burning or hot electrical smell? If you do, it may be a sign that your blower motor is fine, but your capacitor is bad.

  • When your heating or cooling system is running, listen for a loud noise coming through the vents or from the unit itself. Loud banging noises can be caused by a damaged or disconnected blower motor. If you're hearing banging, it's time to call in a tech. If you don't hear any odd noises, but the rest of the symptoms are there, you will need someone to look at it to know for sure.

If you still can't pinpoint the issue, consider other reasons why the temperature can't keep up to the thermostat.

What to Do If You Have a Bad Blower Motor

When your blower motor fails, it’s best to replace it. Doing so will save the other parts of your HVAC system and restore regular air circulation and temperature in your home. While you have the option to repair your blower motor, it’s bound to break again with age.

If you’ve replaced the blower motor and your HVAC system still struggles to operate, there may be a larger issue at stake. Reach out to one of our Remote Assist experts for a virtual diagnosis to get your HVAC system back on track!

NOTE: This content is for informational purposes only, and HomeX and its affiliates disclaim all liability related to it. If you decide to perform any tasks based on this information, you assume all risks, including the risk of loss or damage to property or personal injury.

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