How to Know if Your Furnace Blower Motor Is Bad: 7 Signs

The last thing you want to deal with on a chilly day is a failing furnace that doesn’t blow warm air. Although several potential issues could prevent your furnace from working, there’s a good chance the source is the blower motor. To help you identify this problem, Maximum Comfort Heating & Air Conditioning explains how to know if the furnace blower motor is bad.

As East San Diego’s professional furnace repair experts, our experienced and reliable HVAC technicians can solve any heating issue. Mechanical components can wear out over time, but we can be there quickly to diagnose the problem and repair or replace the broken part. Call us at (619) 949-2483 for prompt service when you notice signs of trouble with a furnace blower motor.

What Is the Furnace Blower Motor?

The blower motor powers the fan that helps distribute warm air from the furnace into the ducts and throughout your home. When the blower motor works as it should, it helps warm your home quickly. If it isn’t working right, then the furnace needs to run longer to reach your desired temperature. 

A well-maintained blower motor should last as long as the furnace, about ten to 20 years. However, it can wear down over time, especially when you don’t maintain the furnace. Electrical issues and problems with other parts in the lower assembly can also cause a broken blower motor before it reaches the end of its service life. 

Common Signs of a Failing Furnace Blower Motor

Like most furnace issues, there are some clear signs of a problem with the blower motor. Here’s how to know if the furnace blower motor is bad. 

1. No Airflow from Vents

If you notice weak airflow, or no airflow, coming from the vents even when the furnace is running, it’s likely that the blower motor isn’t working. If you have some weak airflow, the motor may be working but not at full capacity. Sometimes, the blower doesn’t work because it needs cleaning; accumulated dust or debris can block airflow and keep heat from flowing through the vents. 

2. Unusual Odors or Burning Smells from the Vents

A burning smell that makes its way through the ducts into your home is a cause for concern and usually means that the furnace blower mower is bad. A “hot” or burning smell can indicate overheating, often due to accumulated debris. Electrical problems can also melt wire coatings and cause odors. 

In any case, call for repairs right away. Burning smells are often the first sign of a problem that can lead to a fire. Check for visible signs of damage to the furnace or its components and avoid turning on the heat until a professional can investigate. 

3. Strange Noises

The only sound you should hear when the furnace is running is a low hum, if anything at all. When you hear other strange noises, including screeching, grinding, or banging, something is wrong. In most cases, unusual sounds indicate worn motor bearings or a moving part that requires lubrication.

4. High Energy Bills

A failing furnace blower motor can increase energy consumption and drive up your utility bills. If your power bill suddenly goes up without an explanation, it could be because the blower motor has to work harder to push warm air through the ducts, which causes the furnace to run longer. 

5. Tripping Circuit Breaker

If the furnace trips the circuit breaker every time it comes on, there may be a problem with the blower motor. If the motor seizes, it will cause the circuit to trip as a safety measure. Other furnace issues can cause tripped switches, including problems with the ignitor switch, but the blower motor is a common culprit.

6. The Furnace Runs Intermittently

Problems with a furnace blower motor aren’t always consistent. Sometimes, the furnace appears to run fine, then temporarily stops working for seemingly no reason before running fine again. If this occurs, there’s usually a problem with the blower motor or a part within the furnace that controls it.

7. The Furnace Suddenly Stops Working

A failing blower motor can sometimes cause the furnace to turn off suddenly without warning after a few hours. Usually, this means there is an issue with one of the components in the blower or the blower motor, such as the capacitor or the limit switch. When those parts overheat or malfunction, the furnace stops running to protect itself against further damage. 

Preventing Furnace Blower Motor Problems

Blocked airflow is one of the most common reasons motors fail, and changing the air filter and regularly cleaning furnace components prevents excess debris buildup. The best way to avoid furnace blower motor malfunctions is with regular maintenance to ensure that moving parts stay lubricated. This enables the technician to catch signs of trouble before they stop the furnace from working. 

If the furnace blower motor seizes, the bearings wear out, or the windings inside the motor seizes, the only solution is to replace the motor. Depending on the age and condition of the existing furnace, it may be better to replace the entire unit rather than just the motor. If you need to make frequent repairs, investing in a new furnace may be more cost-effective in terms of energy efficiency and maintenance. 

Call Maximum Comfort Heating & Air Conditioning for Help with Furnace Problems

If you have more questions about how to know if a furnace blower motor is bad or suspect your furnace needs repair, call Maximum Comfort Heating & Air Conditioning in East San Diego, CA. The licensed and insured professionals of our top-rated HVAC company will diagnose the problem and make affordable repairs to restore comfort to your home or business. If you decide to replace your heating system, we can help you select the perfect unit and provide convenient furnace installation

To make an appointment with Southern California’s most trusted HVAC team, call us today at (619) 949-2483 or book an appointment online.