Most people think of their air conditioner as the compressor unit, which is the part of the system that sits outside. Certainly, this unit is essential for the function of your air conditioning system. It is where refrigerant actually cools the air and discharges heat outside. But there is another part of your air conditioning system that you should not overlook: the blower. The blower, also known as the central fan, is what actually propels the cooled air through your ducts and into your home. Problems with the blower unit can cause your home to cool improperly. So, what are some signs your blower unit may need repairs?
1. Loud Noises
Most noises that come from an air conditioner end up being traced back to the blower. You may hear a clanking, banging, or tapping noise as the air conditioner is running. This noise may be most obvious when the system is just turning on or off. It could be caused by a loose ball bearing or a broken fan wing. You might assume that a noisy fan is no big deal as long as your home is still cooling off, but actually, this is a problem you should repair ASAP. Noise indicates that a motor is starting to fail; full failure is just around the corner.
2. Uneven Air Pressure
While your air conditioner is running, take the time to feel the air that is coming out of each vent. You should notice about the same air pressure coming out of each vent. If some vents are getting a lot of air but others are only getting a little air, this could be a sign that your blower motor is struggling and can't produce enough air to reach all of the vents. If some of your rooms are really warm while others are nicely cool, this could be why.
3. Burning Odors
There are many possible explanations for burning odors coming from your air conditioner. There could be an electrical problem, for instance. Usually, however, burning odors come from the blower unit. There may be a loose ball bearing or a torn belt that is rubbing on something when the motor runs. The friction between the broken components causes heat, and that heat causes a burning scent. To trace the cause of the burning odors, try running just the central fan — not the air conditioner. If you still notice the burning odor when the fan is the only thing running, then the fan is definitely the source of the problem.
Venture down into your basement (or wherever your air conditioner is located) while the unit is running. Put your hands on the housing of the blower motor. If you feel more than a slight vibration in the housing, this means that there is too much movement in the fan. This could be due to one of the fan's wings being broken, or the noise could be caused by something like a torn or frayed belt. Vibrations are not always associated with noise. Sometimes they start even before the motor starts making actual noises.
Does your air conditioner turn off after it has only run for a few minutes? This is sometimes caused by an issue in the compressor, such as loss of refrigerant. However, it can also be a sign that your blower motor is overheating. The system is set up to turn off before the temperature gets too high so that you don't end up with a fire.
Have you noticed one or more of these problems in your home? Have an AC repairs technician take a look at your blower.