What does an Air Conditioning Blower Motor Do?

A typical air conditioning system is the sum of its parts. And one of those parts, the AC blower motor, plays a big role in keeping your Delaware County home comfortable year-round. Let’s dive into what it does, how it works and what you can do to keep it in great shape for years to come.

It’s a good thing to know about the entire inner-workings of your AC system, but for now we’ll focus on the AC evaporator.

What Is An AC Blower Motor?

We all know what a cool breeze on a warm, sunny day feels like. In order to replicate that feeling on a home-wide scale, your air conditioner needs to move the air around it. Not only does it have to draw air inside of the unit to condition it, but it must also push the conditioned air through the ductwork and into those indoor spaces.

That’s where the blower motor comes into play. Simply put, it’s an electrical motor tasked with driving the fan inside of your AC system. Every residential unit uses one to move conditioned air where it’s needed most.

Where you’ll find the blower motor depends on the type of HVAC system currently in your home:

  • On split air conditioning systems, you’ll find the air conditioner blower motor sandwiched between the furnace and AC unit.
  • For mini-split systems, each unit has its own blower motor and fan built into each indoor unit. This setup lets you control each unit independently to create cooling zones in each room. .

How Does An AC Blower Motor Work?

Imagine the motor on the back of an oscillating fan and how it drives the fan in order to move air. An air conditioning blower motor achieves the same goal, albeit in a slightly different way. The motor itself drives a squirrel cage blower embedded inside of the air handler. In turn, the blower pulls air in at one end and forces it out at another.

Depending on the type of AC system installed in your home, your unit will have one of the following types of blower motors:

  • Single-Speed Motor – True to form, it operates in two states (ON/OFF) with only a single high speed. A lower cost solution but at the expense of comfort and noise.
  • Variable-Speed Motor – Motors like these can operate at different speeds, allowing for fine-tuned air flow as well as reduced noise, better air circulation and less energy used. However, they’re more expensive than single-speed blower motors.

You might also hear a variable-speed motor referred to as an “electrically commutated motor” or “ECM” for short. That just means the motor itself can toggle through various speed options.

What Can Go Wrong With An AC Blower Motor?

Anything can happen to your air conditioning blower motor, with age and neglect being the most common causes of failure. Heavy dust and debris buildup can slow motors down and cause them to overheat. A lack of proper lubrication can also stop a blower motor in its tracks. The bearings inside of blower motors can also become worn down over time, resulting in excessive noise during operation.

Sticking with regularly scheduled service visits will help you get the most out of your air conditioning blower motor, not to mention other parts of your AC system. Setting up an appointment with the pros at Cool It HVAC can help you take a proactive role in your AC system’s health and performance.