How to Know If Your Furnace Blower Motor Is Bad?

If you’ve had a furnace for a while you may have started noticing some issues with its performance. Especially if you haven’t performed routine maintenance for some time, there may be some tell-tale signs catching your eye. Even if there are no symptoms as of yet, however, you still need to pay attention to your furnace’s motor. Both direct drive motors and belt drive motors are subject to amortization and problems over time so regular check-ups are a must.

So, what should you be on the lookout for?

How to know if a furnace blower motor is bad?

There are 5 main bad furnace blower motor symptoms to look for:

  • Weak airflow coming from the vents. Weak airflow can be an indicator of other problems too such as used up air filters but problems with the motor are a likely cause too.
  • Fully clogged vents. This too can be caused by other issues but is a common symptom for an inoperable blower motor as well.
  • Weird sounds. Screeching and squealing sounds usually mean that the motor has bearing problems or a damaged belt. Clanking and banging noises, on the other hand, often indicate loose components. Particularly loud bangs can mean that something is disconnected or damaged.
  • A high energy bill. The blower motor is the part of your HVAC motors that uses up the majority of the system’s energy so when the motor gets old, malfunctioning, and ineffective you can expect it to start using up more and more energy to achieve the desired results.
  • Overheating. There are myriad problems which can cause your motor to overheat and all of them need to be addressed as soon as possible. Ideally, your routine check-up won’t let the situation get bad enough to get to overheating but if it had you’ll need to act fast.

What causes a furnace blower motor to go bad?

In a word – neglect. We don’t say that judgementally either, HVAC maintenance is annoying and it’s easy to skip especially if you’re a young homeowner. However, skipping routine check-ups, forgetting to replace air filters, and ignoring the early airflow, noise, and energy-inefficiency symptoms of the HVAC system can be detrimental for its motor. Additionally, other faulty elements such as a bad capacitor, loose wires, transformer failures, failing valves, thermostat control issues, and others can also put extra strain on the motor.

Is it safe to use a furnace with a broken blower motor?

Definitely not. A faulty motor can cause lots of problems – it can lead to electrical issues and blown fuses, while the overheating can even start fires. If you’ve ignored the maintenance needs of your HVAC and its bowler motor for long enough that the motor has been damaged you’d do best to call a professional immediately.

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