Electric motors are key components in central HVAC systems. They’re responsible for creating the airflow that makes the system work. So, when a motor in an HVAC system breaks, replacing it is the only option. Modern HVAC systems have multiple motors. Here are the two most important motors in an HVAC system and how a technician replaces them when they break.
Replacing an HVAC Blower Motor
One of the two most important motors in an HVAC system is the blower motor. It’s the part that draws air from the inside of a home to the cooling and heating mechanism and returns it inside. When an HVAC system’s blower motor breaks down, the system cannot operate. Fortunately, replacing an HVAC blower motor is a straightforward process.
First, the technician will turn off the power to the HVAC system. Then, they’ll open the service panel of the system’s air handler. That will allow them to access the blower motor to remove and replace it. Before they do, however, they’ll discharge the fan’s capacitor to allow for the safe removal of the blower. Then they can unscrew and remove the motor housing, remove the fan blades, and replace the motor.
From that point, the technician will repeat the previous steps in reverse to reassemble and reconnect the motor. The whole process typically takes between two and three hours, depending on how easy it is for the technician to access the motor.
Replacing an HVAC Condenser Motor
The second major motor in an HVAC system is its condenser motor. It’s the motor that drives the large fan located in the outdoor unit of a central HVAC system. Its job is to circulate air across the condenser unit’s fins to expel heat collected from the inside of the home. Without a working condenser motor, the refrigerant in the system can’t do its job, and the system can’t create cold air.
Since the condenser motor is outside, it’s typically easier for an HVAC technician to gain access to it, and they’ll have ample room to work. As a result, replacing a condenser fan motor takes between one and two hours of work. The procedure isn’t dissimilar to the one required to replace a blower motor.
First, the technician will turn off the power to the outdoor unit. In most installations, they will do this by turning off a master switch located on an exterior wall near the unit. Then they will open the unit’s access panel and discharge any capacitors connected to the motor. Some HVAC systems have one capacitor for the condenser fan, while others have two. Occasionally, both capacitors are inside a single unit.
The next step is to disconnect the motor’s power wire from the control unit. Then, the technician will remove the screws holding the unit’s top grill onto the main housing. With the grill removed, they can then loosen the motor’s mounting bracket and remove it from the housing.
With the motor removed, the technician can remove the fan blades and transfer them onto the shaft of the new motor. From that point on, all the technician has left to do is to reassemble the parts in the reverse order of the removal steps.
Other Motors in an HVAC System
It’s worth noting that HVAC systems contain a handful of smaller motors that may need replacement from time to time. Unlike blower and condenser motors, however, they’re less likely to fail. That’s good news since they’re also harder to replace. The other motors in an HVAC system include:
- ECM motors
- Combustion fan motors
- Compressor motors
Expert HVAC Motor Replacement
When a motor in your HVAC system fails, you can trust the expert technicians of O'Brien Heating & Air Conditioning to replace it. We’ve been the go-to HVAC experts in the Drexel Hill area for over 60 years. In that time, we’ve built an unparalleled reputation for customer service and high-quality work that the competition can’t hold a candle to. We offer a complete range of heating and cooling services, including everything from installations to maintenance and repair. Our team also provides duct cleaning, indoor air quality, and commercial HVAC services. We can even install traditional and tankless water heaters.
So, if you are having trouble with your HVAC system or need to schedule an appointment for another service, contact us today.