The blower motor is an electric component that powers your furnace’s blower fan and moves indoor air throughout the HVAC system. Its functions are directly connected to your thermostat, and the blower motor can be single-speed, multispeed, or variable-speed.
Because the blower is one of your furnace’s hardest working components, it can easily break down. The average cost of blower motor replacement is $630.
The average lifespan of a blower motor is 12-20 years depending on its quality and whether it is maintained.
Common problems that require the blower motor to be replaced include worn bearings from age, excessive dirt buildup causing the motor to overheat and fail and condensation from the AC coil leaking onto it and causing it to short out.
To know more about what the blower motor is, how you can prevent it from breaking down, how to replace it, and its replacement cost, see the rest of our article below.
What Is a Furnace Blower Motor?
Your gas furnace’s blower motor is the component that drives the fan that pulls air into the furnace through return air ducts to be heated or cooled. And it pushes treated air through your ductwork and into the rooms of your home. The way the blower motor and fan operate is why furnace and ductwork systems are called forced air systems.
When your heating and air system starts up, the blower motor can be heard as it powers the fan up to speed and the air begins to flow through and out of the ductwork. If you remove the cabinet cover to your furnace, you can likely locate the cylindrical blower motor with a drive shaft extending from it. The motor is connected to the blower fan, which looks like a large wheel with slates or fins that push the air.
The blower motor runs and moves air through ducts and grates when your system is in any mode – Heat, AC or Fan.
The blower has two purposes, depending on the mode that the furnace is in:
Heat in Colder Seasons: It pushes return air across the furnace’s heat exchangers as combustion heat flows through them on its way to being exhausted out of the home. After pushing the air over the heat exchangers, the air flows through the ductwork and heating grates. As air is pushed out of the furnace, unheated air is pulled into the furnace.
AC in Warmer Seasons: When the system is in AC mode, the blower pulls air across the evaporator coil to be cooled and dehumidified. It then pushes the cooler, drier air throughout your home via the ductwork.
The blower is located inside the furnace cabinet and sits next to the air filter. The purpose for this is to pull air into your furnace directly through the air filter for maximum filtration that protects your furnace and improves air quality in your home.
If you have an upflow furnace, usually located in a basement or crawlspace, then the blower motor is at the bottom of the furnace cabinet. The motor is at the top of a downflow furnace, a furnace which is typically in an attic of the first floor of a single-story home. Some homes have horizontal furnaces, and the blower motor can be located on either side.
As you can see, the blower is integral to your gas furnace’s performance. When it malfunctions, your furnace can’t do its job.
How Much Does It Cost to Replace a Furnace Blower Motor?
The average cost to replace a furnace blower motor is $630, yet it can range from $250 to $1,400 or more, depending on:
- Whether it is under warranty. Most warranties covering blower motors are 10 years. If the blower fails while under warranty, the manufacturer will pay for the part. Furnace warranties do not cover labor beyond the first year. So the labor part of the cost is what you will pay.
- The type of blower motor. A permanent split capacitor (PSC) motor, which has only one speed setting, costs $200 to $800 on average. On the other hand, an electronically commutated motor (ECM), which has various speeds, costs $600 to $1,200 to replace.
- The blower motor’s size. The larger the component, the more expensive it is. The size is measured in horsepower (HP) and ranges from ¼ HP ($100 – $550) to 1 HP ($180 – $2,000). (Note: Replacement cost of $2,000 is rare; however, the larger, high-end variable speed blower motors can cost this much to replace.)
- If you only need parts. Your blower motor may still be repairable by simply replacing a blower part but not the entire motor. In this case, the technician will charge you less for the job.
- The brand. Brand name matters, as different brands can be costlier than others. Replacing a Carrier blower, for example, will cost you anything from $400 to $1,600, whereas replacing a Goodman blower will cost you $275 to $800.
- The labor cost. The average HVAC company charges $130 to $410 for labor, and the replacement job will take two to three hours as long as nothing unexpected occurs.
Pro Tips: Our furnace repair experts say that when replacing the blower, you should also replace the capacitor and the blower wheel. Otherwise, mixing a new blower with old parts can mean a shorter lifespan for the blower, especially if the parts have been used for over a decade.
What are the Common Problems of a Gas Furnace Blower Motor?
When a blower malfunctions, it is commonly due to one of the following problems:
1. The furnace blower starts, then stops. This is typically the result of the blower sustaining damage from a bad capacitor. When the capacitor needs replacing but is not removed in time, the blower’s windings overheat and the rotor fails to spin. After a while, the blower will not turn on.
If you caught the problem before the blower received damage, then you can resolve this issue by replacing the capacitor. You will also need to replace the windings if they were shorted and/or grounded.
If your blower is damaged, then you will need to replace the entire component.
2. The furnace blower motor hums or makes similar noise but won’t start. If the humming sounds like a buzz rather than a clicking or whining, then this is also the result of a bad capacitor. Sometimes, the electrical load needed to run the furnace becomes too much on the capacitor, causing it to burn out.
You will need to replace the capacitor to fix your blower. If the blower was damaged in any way, you may need to replace the entire component instead.
3. Electrical windings issues. The blower will not turn on if the electrical windings open up, are shorted, and/or are grounded.
When one or all of these issues occur, you will need to replace the windings or the entire motor, depending on the extent of the damage.
4. A worn or stuck bearing. If the bearing is worn out and hardly spins, then the motor will make a loud clicking noise while operating. If the bearing is stuck, the motor will not be able to operate.
You will need to replace the blower’s bearing, making sure you wipe away dirt buildup and lubricate the blower.
5. Moisture damage. If a coil is installed incorrectly, for example, or if the condensate drain pan leaks or is plugged, then moisture can get into the blower motor and cause corrosion, shorting, and other damage.
If your blower is already corroded, you will need to replace it.
6. The furnace blower works with AC but not heat. The reasons for this vary. You may simply have your thermostat on “Cool” and not “Heat” or “Auto.” However, if your thermostat is fine, then this can be the symptom of a wiring issue, a dirty furnace, a bad flame rollout switch, a bad draft motor, or a filter that needs replacing.
For an in-depth understanding on how to fix each issue, see our article here.
7. A failed control board. Many things can cause a control board to fail, but some of the signs of it are flashing or permanent warning lights, the furnace’s inability to stabilize on a temperature, interrupted furnace cycling. When the control board is not properly connecting to the blower, the blower will not operate well or at all.
You may simply need to replace some of the wiring between the control board and the furnace. You can determine this by using electrical tape and a voltage meter to test the wiring and terminals. Otherwise, you will need to replace the entire control board.
Tip: Regular maintenance, such as cleaning the blower motor, will prevent many of these problems. Dirt build-up creates havoc for your furnace in ways you may not expect.
What are the Signs That You Need to Replace the Old Furnace Blower?
You can usually tell your old furnace blower should be replaced when you notice one or several of the following signs:
- Your vents have weak airflow coming through them. This is a possible indication that the blower is wearing out and is at the end of its lifespan.
- Your vents have no airflow. This is a potential sign that your blower is dead.
- You have higher-than-normal energy bills. If your bills are unexpectedly higher, it may be because your blower is reaching the end of its lifespan and has to work harder to distribute air.
- Weird sounds are coming from your furnace blower. This is usually an indication that something is wrong with your blower, such as a stuck bearing.
- Your blower is overheating. If your blower is old, then it will have to work harder. When this happens, the component may overheat, eventually shutting down.
These are among the most common signs that you need to replace your blower motor.
Should I Replace Blower Motor or Buy New Furnace?
It depends on how old your furnace is. Of the two options, replacing the blower motor would be the cheapest upfront, but it would cost you more money over time if you found yourself needing to replace the entire furnace only a few years later.
Our rule of thumb: Replace your furnace if it is closer to the end of its lifespan (approximately 12-20 years) and/or has required frequent repairs in the short time you have owned it. Otherwise, it would be more beneficial for you to replace your blower motor.
As mentioned, a blower motor will cost $250 to $900 retail, depending on what you need. Plus another $250 on average for labor. The highest replacement cost (for a variable-speed ECM blower with installation) is roughly $2,000. On the other hand, a new furnace begins at $4,200 and caps off above$10,000, depending on the furnace’s efficiency, brand, and BTU range.
It can be difficult to decide whether to replace your blower motor or buy a new furnace, but that information should help. Additionally, if you intend to move in the next few years, paying the cost of a new blower may prevent the higher expense of furnace replacement.
How Long Does a Furnace Blower Motor Last?
The average life of a furnace blower motor is 12-18 years depending on its quality, whether it is maintained and its initial quality. In some cases, other furnace repairs warrant furnace replacement before the blower motor goes bad.
To ensure your furnace and blower last as long as possible, schedule annual maintenance checks with your local HVAC company.
How to Replace a Furnace Blower Motor?
Replacing a blower on your own comes with risk. For instance, without professional help, you may:
- Accidentally misdiagnose the issue, replacing the blower only to discover it wasn’t the reason your furnace malfunctioned.
- Confuse where to reconnect the wiring.
However, DIY furnace blower motor replacement is possible for homeowners comfortable working with electrical components and making major repairs. While not meant to be a blower motor replacement tutorial, here are the basic steps:
- Remove the panels and locate the blower assembly.
- Remove the blower assembly.
- Remove the blower motor.
- Replace the blower motor.
- Adjust and center the blower motor.
- Replace the capacitor.
- Replace the blower assembly.
- Replace the control panel.
- Replace the furnace panels, turn the furnace on, open the gas line, then restart the furnace.
Which Part Should Be Replaced Together When Replacing a Furnace Blower Motor?
When it comes to replacing your blower motor, we recommend changing a few other parts at the same time:
- The capacitor. An old capacitor can stop or damage the blower over time. Because of this, it would be better for you to update the capacitor when you replace the blower. You will also need to make sure the new capacitor is an exact match with the old one. (Note: Some new blower motors come with a capacitor as part of the assembly.)
- The blower wheel. This is especially the case if the wheel is bent or damaged. An old or bent wheel will break down, which means your home will not be heated or cooled. It is best to replace the wheel alongside the blower motor to ensure indoor comfort.
Where Can I Purchase a Furnace Blower Motor?
The best place to buy a furnace blower motor is from an online seller specializing in heating and air conditioning. HVAC Direct is an excellent option because the site is staffed by knowledgeable salespersons who will assist you in making the best purchase for your needs. The site has an 800 number and a Chat option that works well.
You can also purchase a furnace blower motor from any one of your local home improvement stores, such as Home Depot, or via Amazon. But you won’t get expert advice from these sellers, and options are very limited.
Many replacement blower motors are made by quality third-party manufacturers. Just make sure that the blower motor you choose is compatible with your brand and model such as:
- Comfortmaker/Heil/Day & Night/Tempstar
- Trane/American Standard
Some things to keep in mind before purchasing:
- Brand. Different brands come with different prices and warranty options. If you want to buy a blower that was made by a different manufacturer than the one that made your furnace, you can—especially if it means making a cheaper purchase. The caveat is that your furnace’s manufacturer might void your furnace warranty if your blower is from a different company.
- Horsepower: Size, or HP, is one of the most significant factors to consider. You will need to know which size best suits your furnace. The available sizes include ¼ HP ($100 – $550), ⅓ HP ($100 – $800), ½ HP ($120 – $1,000), ¾ HP ($175 – $1,500) and 1 HP ($180 – $2,000). The larger the size, the more powerful the blower.
- Blower fan speed. Which speed works best with your furnace: single-speed, multispeed, or variable-speed? Variable-speed is the most energy-efficient and quietest option, but it is also the most expensive upfront ($600 to $1,200 on average). Single-speed is the least expensive upfront ($200 to $500 on average), but it is also the least energy-efficient and the loudest.
- RPMs. The new blower must have the same number of RPMs.
- Blower motor diameter. You must match the exact diameter that can fit in your furnace.
- Voltage and amperage. How many volts or amps your blower can have depends on what your furnace is able to handle.
- Shaft size. The new blower must have the same shaft size as the old one.