As homeowners, we don’t think much of the cool, gentle breeze that comes out of our vents. As it turns out, the air conditioning blower motor makes that breeze possible. Learning more about the inner workings of your AC system can help you take better care of your unit and head off common problems that could put an abrupt end to your home’s cooling comfort.
Anatomy of an Air Conditioning Blower Motor
Unsurprisingly, your air conditioning system needs a way to move air throughout your home. Your AC makes this happen by driving an electric motor, which in turn drives a fan that ultimately moves the air around. That’s your air conditioning blower motor’s job, in a nutshell.
Not only does the blower motor help move air through your home’s ductwork, but it also ensures air flow over the evaporator coils.
Where It’s Located in Your AC System
The location of your air conditioning blower motor depends on the type of unit. For traditional split AC systems and heat pumps, the blower motor is usually located within the unit’s indoor cabinet. Ductless mini-split systems have theirs incorporated within each air handler unit, which makes zoned heating and cooling possible.
Window-mounted air conditioners also have their blower motors embedded inside the unit for packaging reasons. Some older models are belt-driven while others are directly driven off of the motor itself.
Different Types of Blower Motors
Did you know there’s more than one type of air conditioning blower motor? Most AC systems offer single-speed or variable-speed motors, depending on price and features. The former is relatively simple – when the thermostat calls for operation, the blower fan runs at 100% until it shuts off.
A variable-speed blower motor, on the other hand, runs at different speeds. Also known as an “electronically commutated motor,” variable-speed motors can run at much lower speeds, providing more effective air circulation while using less energy. This also means you can cool your home more evenly and enjoy greater comfort.
What to Do If Your Blower Motor Stops Working
In most cases, you can expect your air conditioning blower motor to last the life of the entire AC system. Nevertheless, there’s always a chance of that unit failing prematurely for a variety of reasons. The most common reason aside from old age is neglect, usually through a lack of proper maintenance.
Lubrication is the key for a healthy and long-lived blower motor. Without it, the component could suffer bearing issues and other forms of increased wear and tear. Blower motors can also overheat due to worn-out bearings and other components, not to mention dust and debris buildup inside the motor.