Furnace blower motors don’t get the spotlight they deserve because they’re often hidden on the bottom of our furnaces. These small engines are the ones responsible for making sure each room gets its fair share of toasty warmth.
But with unpredictable weather and temperatures, homeowners need to know more about these motors.
In this article, we’ll discuss what they actually do, their different motor types, how you can tell when they’re acting up, and the cost of replacing one to make sure your home is comfy year-round.
What is a furnace blower motor?
The furnace blower motor is responsible for pushing and circulating warm air generated by the furnace into the room. It’s a crucial component of an HVAC system that aids in ensuring the room’s temperature remains consistent.
The thermostat signals the furnace to start when it detects a change in the room’s temperature. The fan or blower wheel is then turned on to draw in air from the air duct.
Once the furnace has conditioned the air, the blower motor will push the air into the room.
The blower motor is usually located in the base of the furnace, beside the air filter. However, the blower motor for some furnaces may be found in a different area depending on the model and brand.
How much does a replacement for a furnace blower motor cost?
Replacing a furnace blower motor costs $550 on average. However, some units may require a more advanced motor, so they can cost as much as $2,250.
You can spend as little as $175 dollars if the blower motor is still under an active warranty.
What factors affect the cost of replacing a furnace blower motor?
|¼ HP||$100 to $500|
|⅓ HP||$100 to $800|
|½ HP||$120 to $1,000|
|¾ HP||$175 to $1,500|
|1 HP||$250 to $2,000|
Horsepower is a measure of the furnace blower motor’s ability to move air. Furnace blower motors with higher horsepower are built to handle more significant loads and provide greater airflow.
Since they offer more power output, they tend to be harder to manufacture and more expensive.
Common horsepower used for residential homes is ¼ HP and ⅓ HP. Some larger homes may need to use ½ HP or ¾ HP blowers.
Furnace blower motors with ¼ to ⅓ HP can cost anywhere between $100 and $800, while motors with ½ to ¾ HP range between $120 and $1,500. Labor for the replacement can cost $200 to $400.
|Single-Speed Blower Motor||$300 to $900|
|Multi-Speed Blower Motor||$320 to $1,100|
|Variable-Speed Blower Motor||$600 to $1,500|
Some furnace blower motor types, especially variable-speed, are more expensive than others since they use better technology and components. They may also be harder to install, so the labor cost will be higher.
Single-speed blower motors are the cheapest, costing $300 to $900. Multi-speed blower motors are slightly more expensive, ranging between $320 and $1,100.
Variable-speed furnace blower motors cost much more than the other two. Prepare about $600 to $1,500 if your furnace uses this type of motor.
|Goodman or Amana||$75 to $1200|
|Carrier||$100 to $1600|
|Lenox||$125 to $1550|
|Rheem||$130 to $1,300|
|York||$140 to $1,800|
|American Standard or Trane||$175 to $2,000|
|Comfortmaker||$200 to $1,000|
Your furnace’s brand will also affect the total replacement cost of a furnace blower motor.
You can get a cheaper replacement by using a generic furnace blower motor, but this may not last as long as the branded ones. Generic ones can also void the warranty of the system, so you may end up spending more if it needs repair in the future.
Furnace blower motors from Goodman cost $75 to $1200, which is among the most affordable branded motors. The ones from Carrier and Lenox cost about $100 to $1,600 and $125 to $15,50, respectively.
Furnace blower motors from York cost $140 to $1,800, while the ones from Rheem cost $130 to $1,300. The ones from other brands usually range from $170 to $2,000.
In regions with a higher cost of living, labor rates tend to be higher, which can increase the overall cost of the replacement.
If they need to disassemble the entire furnace to access the blower motor, it will likely take longer and result in higher labor expenses. They may also encounter additional repairs that need to be addressed first, further increasing the cost.
Most technicians charge $75 to $175 per hour. The replacement usually takes two to three hours, so prepare around $150 to $525 for labor costs.
If the blower motor is still under warranty at the time of replacement, the manufacturer may cover the cost of the motor itself or provide a replacement motor at little to no cost. This will significantly lower the total cost of replacement.
Most warranties don’t include labor, so the only cost of replacement will be for the service. As mentioned previously, the labor cost usually ranges from $75 to $175 per hour.
However, if the blower motor is no longer covered by warranty, you’ll have to cover the full cost of replacing the motor.
Other Costs That May Be Incurred from Replacing Furnace Blower Motor
Other Parts That Need to Be Replaced
|Blower Wheel||$25 to $300|
|Shaft||$40 to $250|
|Belt||$5 to $100|
When furnace blower motors are damaged, it can also cause damage to other parts of the furnace. Some common parts that often get damaged along with the furnace blower motor are the belt, blower wheel, and shaft.
The blower wheel is responsible for drawing in air from the return duct and then pushing it to the heating components. It’s essential in circulating air, so it also needs to be replaced when it’s broken.
This wheel usually costs $25 to $300.
The shaft is what connects the blower wheel and the blower motor. Without it, the blower motor won’t be able to turn on the wheel, which means no air will be heated.
The shaft isn’t expensive, costing only $40 to $250.
The belt connects the shaft to the blower wheel, so it’s a very crucial component. Without it, the wheel won’t be able to turn, and air won’t be circulated.
Belts usually cost around $5 to $100, depending on the type, size, and labor cost.
What are the signs your furnace needs a new blower motor?
When the blower motor is not functioning properly, it won’t be able to circulate air evenly and produce enough heat for the house.
If you notice that some rooms are colder than others, you probably have a faulty furnace blower motor.
This will be more apparent for furnaces that use multi-speed and variable-speed blower motors since they tend to maintain an even airflow throughout the house.
One of the most common signs that your furnace is malfunctioning and may need replacement is limited airflow from the air vents. If the blower motor is failing, it will have a hard time generating and circulating heated air.
However, this problem doesn’t always mean the motor needs replacing. Sometimes it can also be caused by a faulty capacitor or a clogged air filter.
That’s why looking for other signs before diagnosing the problem is important.
If you hear some grinding, squealing, rattling, or worse, banging noises from your furnace, then it’s best to call an HVAC technician because this can be a sign of a failing furnace blower motor.
If the bearings in the blower motor loosened, they could resist the motor’s rotation and cause unusual noises. This can also cause the shaft to move and damage the blower wheel.
Rattling and grinding noises usually only indicate that the blower motor needs repairs. But a banging noise generally indicates that the entire furnace blower motor is malfunctioning and needs replacement.
Excessive Energy Bills
A sudden increase in energy bills can be caused by a furnace blower motor that’s damaged and not working efficiently. This decrease in efficiency will cause the motor to work harder than it should, driving up the electric bill.
It’s best to contact a professional to check your furnace if this is the only sign you’re noticing. A thorough inspection will provide a better diagnosis since there are also other possible reasons why your energy bill is increasing.
The blower motor won’t start
If the blower motor fails to start when the furnace is turned on, then it’s a clear sign that it has a problem. The worst-case scenario for this is it will need to be replaced entirely.
Listen for the sound of the furnace blower motor starting if you suspect it’s not turning on. Even variable-speed blower motors would produce a sound when they begin to operate, so this should be easy to determine.
If it’s not working, call your furnace technician immediately.
The blower motor is overheating
The motor is probably overheating if you can smell a distinct, almost burning-like smell from your air vents. This is a huge sign of a problem that may lead you to replace the entire motor.
When it overheats, it’s generally because it’s working way harder than intended and some components of the blower motor are failing.
What are the different types of furnace blowers?
|Single-Speed Blower Motor||Multi-Speed Blower Motor||Variable-Speed Blower Motor|
|Fixed speed||Two to three speed settings||Multiple speed settings|
|Least energy efficient||Moderate efficiency||Most energy efficient|
|10 to 15 years lifespan||10 to 15 years lifespan||15 to 20 years lifespan|
Furnaces use three different types of blower motors: single-speed, multi-speed, and variable-speed. Each furnace requires different types of blower motors, and each of these types has its own benefits and drawbacks.
Single-Speed Blower Motor
Single-speed blower motors are mostly seen in older furnaces. They have only one-speed setting, often high.
They will turn off as soon as the room reaches its desired temperature and turn on again once the temperature changes. This repeated on-and-off mechanism can be harsh to the HVAC and can cause the motor to wear off faster.
Their constant high-speed operation causes a noise that can be bothersome to others. They’re the noisiest blower motors out of the three types.
This high speed also makes them the least energy-efficient blower motor type. They always run at full capacity regardless of the heating demand of the space, leading to excessive energy consumption.
That said, they’re the least expensive out of the three, so they’re mostly found in budget-friendly furnaces.
Multi-Speed Blower Motor
Multi-speed or two-stage blower motors use two to three speed settings to match the specific heating requirement of the room. They’re often used in a lot of residential and mid-range commercial furnaces.
They offer more efficiency compared to single-speed because of their ability to adjust speed levels. They also don’t produce as much noise, though there’s still a considerable amount.
Multi-speed blower motors have a similar lifespan to single-speed.
They’re a bit more expensive than single-speed blower motors, though, since they have more advanced technology.
Variable-Speed Blower Motor
Variable-speed blower motors are the most advanced type of blower motors in the market right now. They have multiple speed settings, so they continuously adjust their speed to precisely match the heating demands of the space.
Since they only use the speed needed by the space, they’re the most efficient type of blower motors. They operate at low speed when needed, reducing energy consumption and utility bills.
Variable-speed blower motors also provide better comfort levels because they maintain a consistent temperature and humidity level. They’re also the quietest when it comes to operation.
However, they are the most expensive, so they’re mostly used in high-end residential and commercial furnaces. Their longer lifespan and potential energy savings, though, can make up for the cost in the long run.