Everything You Need to Know About Your Furnace Blower Motor

Kenneth Wilson

Like other mechanical components in your HVAC system, furnace blower motors are bound for system breakdowns at some point.

It is considered one of the most essential, hard-working parts of your home's furnace system. So if it's not functioning as intended, you have no choice but to shell out for replacement costs. You're looking at an average of $500 for a furnace blower motor replacement.

What is a Furnace Blower?

If you have a gas-forced furnace, the blower motor is located in a box at the base next to the air filter. It draws return air through the filter. Once on, the blower and the motor push the air across the combustion chamber burners to heat the air. This is then transferred in the heat exchanger and through your home's ductwork.

In a typical AC season, the blower pushes the return air across the evaporator coil for cooling purposes – before making it through your home via the ductwork. If the blower motor for a furnace breaks down, your central heating and air conditioning system cannot perform as intended and may compromise its performance.

Furnace Blower Motor Replacement: Average Costs

As previously mentioned, expect to spend somewhere around $500 to replace a furnace blower motor. This heavily depends on your area's current labor fees and the parts' cost (determined by supply). Since several high-end models have large or hard-to-reach motors, this may easily cost you up to $2,300.

Important Note: With numerous HVAC companies in the country, the blower motor prices will vary depending on who you go with. It would be best to secure multiple quotes (at least 3) to determine the best pricing for your budget.

Some professionals may charge you a diagnostic fee if they need to do an in-house visit for assessment, which may add at least $200 to your total expenses. They may waive this fee if you hire them to repair it.

Another important consideration is the ease of access to your HVAC system, influencing the total labor costs. Suppose it is located on the main floor; you'll probably only be charged the baseline fee. If they need to access the depths of the attic or down the basement, this may hike the costs. (Related: How Much Does A Blower Motor Cost To Replace?)

Common Signs Your Furnace Blower Motor is Bad

If the blower motor wears down after a given time, your home's central heating and air conditioning system may not function as intended. Here are some telling signs to keep in mind as you determine possible furnace blower motor problems:

  • Grinding or screeching sound ─ Blower motors for furnaces are made to ensure a smooth operation and be well-lubricated for long years. So if it is starting to make a loud grinding or screeching noise, it may suggest that the motor bearing may have worn down the gears inside the assembly.
  • Intermittent operation ─ When furnace blowers have an intermittent operation, the efficiency of your HVAC unit may be compromised. Imagine– it can run fine for some time, but sometimes, it may stop functioning entirely. In that case, there may be problems with the blower motor (or another part of the furnace). Some homeowners try a DIY remedy by cleaning the motor's wire coils. But if this doesn't work out for you, it may be time to consider a timely furnace blower motor replacement.
  • Airflow issues ─ If you notice a feeble (or a lack of) airflow from your vents, something else may be holding it back from functioning. When the filters get filthy and clogged, this will prevent your blower from getting adequate air. The furnace blower must work twice as hard to bring in air, pulling the filter into the birdcage.
  • Unusual odors or burning smells ─ If a burning smell or strange odor comes from your furnace, this may be another telling sign of a possible furnace blower motor problem (or other parts of the blower assembly). In this case, check for any visible signs of damage to confirm if you need replacement as soon as possible.
  • The furnace doesn’t run ─ Suppose the issue spans beyond just the blower motor, including the likes of an overworked capacitor or limit switch. In that case, your heating system may ultimately stop and fail to function as intended. Those dealing with simple issues such as excess dust buildup in the blower assembly may opt to clean it using compressed air. Contact a professional to determine the best course of action if this doesn't solve it.

To sum it up, it's best to give your furnace blower motor a regular cleaning and change the filters as often as necessary to avoid problems. But in some cases, they can be left with no choice but to replace the furnace blower motor to fix the issue.

Should I Replace a Blower Motor or Buy a New Furnace?

When it comes to replacing the blower motor for a furnace, you will first need to determine its age or for how long it has been operating. We talk to several homeowners daily, and it seems as though many are still unsure which is the best investment when choosing between repairs or a total replacement.

Simply put, you'll most likely save more if you replace your entire heating system if your furnace is already decades old. Over time, the constant repairs will only add up. New models are designed to be more energy-efficient, so you can expect to spend less on your annual heating costs. But if the best course of action is to replace your furnace blower motor, ensure to hire a qualified HVAC technician to get the job done. They will inspect your furnace thoroughly and help you determine the best choice for your home needs and your current budget.

Since the blower motor for the furnace is just one part of the entire system that keeps your home comfortable all year round, remember that other components may also break down after some wear and tear. We strongly recommend having your residential HVAC system serviced at least once a year to prevent costly and extensive repairs.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Is there a difference between an AC and a furnace blower motor?

The simple answer is none. The same blower motor moves both hot and cold air, whether you have central air and heat or just one of these.

How long does a furnace blower motor last?

Blower motors are made to last between 10 and 20 years, which is the same lifespan as your furnace. Like any HVAC system, the better your equipment is maintained and serviced by qualified HVAC specialists, the longer it will last and the fewer repairs you'll need to make.

How can I tell if my furnace blower goes bad?

An obvious sign can be to hear a vibrating motor sound in the walls. In any case, consulting with a local HVAC repair professional is the only way to be sure.

Can a faulty furnace blower be repaired?

Experienced HVAC specialists ensure that the capacitor is operating correctly and the electrical system supplies electricity to the motor when a blower won't turn on. The capacitor may frequently need to be replaced (they are sealed and not serviceable). For a thorough check, technicians will take the blower assembly out of the furnace to examine all electrical connections and lubricate the motor. Routine maintenance might avoid severe blower damage that an excessive accumulation of dust can bring on.

Can furnace blower problems be prevented?

The best thing you can do to avoid furnace blower issues is to get it serviced by a qualified HVAC professional once a year. They will lubricate any moving components needed, clean them to eliminate excess dust accumulation, and replace the drive belt if necessary.

Kenneth Wilson
July 7, 2022

Kenneth Wilson

Retired contractor. Currently residing in Southwest Florida. Now in semi-retirement, I write and manage this blog focused on helping home owners make savvy decisions when it comes to finding contractors and getting their projects done. I also operate remodeling design service for homeowners.

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