In forced-air heating systems, the air is heated in a furnace and blown through a duct system. The ducts then carry the heat to vents in each room in the home. The device that does all this work (forcing air through/out of the vents) is known as a blower.
In short, without the blower, hot air would not reach your rooms. The same applies if the blower malfunctions. You’ll instantly notice a change in heating efficiency or experience no heating altogether.
This makes the blower system a crucial cog in furnace heating, and the need to understand how it works and what could go wrong with the appliance paramount.
It also means that you need to be extra careful when shopping for the furnace blower, lest you take home a blower that will make your work harder than necessary.
Shortly, we will share tips and ideas with you to help you identify the right blower for your furnace. First, though, the following is a roundup of six of the best furnace blowers at the moment.
What’s a Furnace Blower?
A furnace blower is the main component of the furnace system that forces air into the ducts and out of the vents in rooms where heating is needed.
Most furnace systems today are forced-air systems that need air to be moved into and out of the system. The furnace blower, also known as the furnace fan, is the easiest way to accomplish this.
How Furnace Blowers work
When you start up the furnace, it needs to create heated air. If it’s an electric heater, it does so by passing a current through a high-resistance heating element. For natural gas and propane heaters, it will combust the fuel instead.
The warm air is created in a special chamber known as the heat exchanger. You need the means to push it out of the exchanger unit into the ducts and out of the vents at the other end. That’s where the blower system comes in handy.
The blowing action forces air into the ductwork (thus the name “forced-air) and sustains the pressure until the hot air exits the ducts into the rooms at the other end. The more powerful the blower, the more hot air (volume) it can pump per unit time.
Types of Furnace Blowers
Furnace blowers can be grouped into three broad categories – single-speed, two-stage, and or variable-speed.
Single-Speed Furnace Blowers
Single-speed models are either off or running at full capacity – there’s no in-between. Typically, they spring into action when the thermostat signals so and go out when the desired room temperature is reached, cycling on and off in this manner throughout the heating period to maintain the desired indoor temperatures.
This way of operation makes single-speed blowers the least efficient of the three options. They are also the most expensive to run, not to mention that they are noisier and the least environmentally friendly.
Two-Stage Blower Systems
Two-stage blower systems are almost similar to single-stage blowers, except that they have a second setting between the off and max operation – the low setting.
Most of the time, the blower will work in a low setting. However, when the weather gets freezing, it switches to the high setting to pump more heat into the house.
Owing to this second “low” option, two-stage blower systems are a tad more efficient than single-stage systems. They save significant energy in low mode. This low setting is also usually less noisy and more cost-effective. There’s also reduced carbon dioxide emissions (in the case of fuel heaters).
Variable-Speed Furnace Blowers
Variable-speed models are the most advanced of the three options. Unlike conventional furnace blowers, they run at different speeds to precisely control the flow of heated air throughout your home. Improved airflow control means a better balance of temperature and humidity.
The variable-speed motor works by continually monitoring the data from your thermostat and making adjustments as necessary to meet your comfort needs.
Variable-speed blowers are typically more energy-efficient than single-speed and two-stage models. Some studies show that they use about a third of the electricity consumed by a single-speed blower. Also, they are quieter and more environmentally friendly.
Furnace Blower Sizing
Properly sizing the blower fan is a critical step in the shopping process. You need a blower system that can handle your airflow needs without being too big for the furnace. Also, you must consider the pressure.
Many furnaces will tell you the CFM value needed for optimal airflow. For instance, a 3-ton furnace typically requires a 1200 CFM blower. Otherwise, remember that, on average, you need about 440 CFM per ton. Therefore, for a 3-ton furnace, you need about 1320 CFM.
Can You Upgrade a Furnace Blower?
Yes. If the current blower system doesn’t feel sufficient, you’re encouraged to buy a more powerful unit. Ideally, you need to upgrade any blower that delivers less than 90% of the required airflow.
Remember that each furnace is unique and uses a different type of blower. So, you need to determine the right kind of blower for your furnace before you start shopping for a replacement. The other thing to remember is that you can replace the blower motor or the entire blower assembly. Replacing the motor only, however, may void the warranty in some cases.
How Much Does it Cost to Replace a Furnace Motor?
Nationwide, the average cost of replacing the furnace blower is currently $400 to $600, including parts and labor. A single-speed blower costs about $450 to replace, while variable-speed models cost up to $600.
It’s important to mention that technical repairs and maintenance activities on the furnace are best performed by an experienced HVAC professional. Don’t attempt a DIY unless you’re confident in your HVAC skills.
Other parts of the blower system, such as the capacitor and blades, can also be replaced. The capacitor acts as a spark plug, creating the energy necessary to engage the motor. As such, the capacitor can wear fast and fail at some point. Replacing the capacity costs $180 to $250. Blades on the blower wheel, meanwhile, can bend or become loose, causing the unit to become noisy and inefficient. It costs about $80 to $100 to have a technician diagnose the problem and fix it.
Blower Noise Issues – Causes and Remedies
The furnace blower, as with any fan system, makes some level of noise. Indeed, the noise level is one of the critical factors to consider when choosing a blower system.
However, a previously not-so-noise blower system can also become excessively noisy owing to wear and tear or other reasons. Here’s what you need to know about the noises and what you can do if your blower becomes too noisy.
What Causes Blower Noise?
The most common cause of blower fan noise is loose parts or breakage. A loose fan can grind against the housing, causing a sharp grinding sound. If it’s a thumping sound, something is most likely stuck to the fan blades.
What’s the Remedy?
Some blower noise issues can be easily resolved. For instance, if something is stuck between the blades, you can take it out on your own without involving a professional. However, if some part is broken, it’s in your best interest to call a professional to look at it.
My Furnace is Not Blowing Air? What’s the Cause/Solution?
The furnace blower has a long lifespan. They are designed to last at least 20 years, with some lasting up to 40 years. Unfortunately, the blower can malfunction over its life from time to time, necessitating a few repairs.
If your blower stops functioning, i.e., you can’t feel the warmth anymore, don’t panic. It’s possibly just a small issue that perhaps doesn’t even need a professional. And, if it’s indeed a malfunction, then it’s most likely something that can be fixed in a matter of hours.
Before you call the technician, you want to rule out three things; a tripped circuit breaker, wrong thermostat setting, and clogged furnace filter. Any of these three issues can stop warm air from reaching your rooms or generally cause the rooms to feel colder than usual.
If none of the three issues above is the problem, then something’s up. It could be one of the following problems;
- The thermostat or electric control board is faulty
- A blown fuse, disconnected wires, and corroded connectors
- A loose or broken fan belt or a loose belt pulley
- Malfunctioned fan motor start/run capacitor
- Damaged blower assembly shaft or bearings
- Bad electric motor
Unless you’re dealing with a tripped circuit, wrong thermostat setting, or clogged filters, never attempt to fix a faulty furnace blower on your own. Call a professional.
Quietest Furnace Blower
1. Goodman Furnace Draft Inducer Motor #22307501
The Model 22307501 draft furnace inducer from Goodman Amana is an inducer motor designed to expel exhaust gas from the furnace. Older inefficient furnaces allow flue gas to escape with virtually no resistance.
However, newer model furnace exchangers are so restrictive that gases cannot exit the unit through a natural draft. The inducer fan helps pull flue gases through the heat exchanger.
It’s a 120V, 2.8 amp fan system that runs at 3,000 revolutions per minute (RPM) and 1/16 horsepower. You may also want to know that it’s a single-speed ball-bearing blower with CW rotation.
The mounting screws are included, so you don’t need to worry about buying them separately. The unit comes with a one-year warranty.
- Powerful 3,000 RPM blower
- Mounting screws included
- 1-year manufacturer warranty
- Gasket not included
2. Dayton 1TDR9 Rectangular Permanent Split Capacitor OEM Specialty Blower
The Dayton 1TDR9 is a Taiwan-made 463 CFM blower that runs at 1,600 RPM. It’s also a 115-volt 1.28-amp blower that operates at 50/60 hertz.
It mounts in all positions and makes very little noise or vibration. You’ll also appreciate that it has cast-aluminum end shields for even heat dispersion and longer service life.
Other key features of the 1TDR9 include the heavy gauge steel housing, flat black high-temperature finish, and permanently lubricated ball bearings. It features an extruded aluminum blower frame for increased rigidity.
The direct-drive blower with forward-curve wheels is the perfect OEM replacement blower for general heating, cooling, and ventilation.
- Dynamically balanced
- Quiet operation
- Mounts in any position
- Durable build
- 1-year warranty
- Not for use with speed controllers
3. Dayton 2C647 Rectangular Permanent Split Capacitor OEM Specialty Blower
This is another blower system that allows for all-position mounting. It is a dynamically-balanced blower for smooth and quiet operation. Noise and vibration are held to a minimum to maintain CFM performance at higher static pressure.
The blower is made from durable, cast aluminum and shields for greater heat dissipation and protection. The PSC shaded pole design makes it an excellent choice for economical air delivery for general heating and air conditioning. It comes in a baked enamel finish.
The 1,500 RPM blower has a 5 ½ inch diameter and requires a 115-volt connection. It has a one-year warranty.
- All-position mounting
- Dynamically balanced
- Long service life
- Auto-thermal protection
- Not for use with speed controllers
4. Fasco A082 75 CFM 115V 3000 RPM Centrifugal Furnace blower Draft inducer
For nearly a century, Fasco has designed and manufactured some of the most reliable AC motors and motors and blowers. The A082 is one of their most reliable makes to date. This 3,000 RPM blower system runs on 115 volts and moves air at 75 CFM. It’s a centrifugal blower assembly.
Key features of the blower include thermal protection and single-speed performance. Although most people prefer variable-speed blowers, this model uses superior technology to ensure high performance at a single speed. It uses a sleeve bearing as opposed to a ball bearing.
The blower is UL recognized and CSA/UIC certified. It runs at 60Hz frequency and 0.95 amps at free air. A one-year warranty backs it.
- Thermally protected
- UI recognized/CSA certified
- Powerful 3,000 RPM performance
- 1-year warranty
- Gasket sold separately
5. P-Tech Round 3.3-Inch Blower with Flange
A direct replacement for the Dayton 1TDp3, 4C443, and Fasco 50748-D500, the P-Tech TTB-2083-R is a 12-72 CFM PSC and Shaded Pole blower with a round outlet.
It’s made from cast aluminum for greater heat dissipation and protection. The durable build also ensures longevity and less downtime.
The all-position mounting unit has a maximum temperature range of -20 to 104 degrees Fahrenheit. Other specifications include the 3.75-inch blower wheel diameter, 1.88-inch blower wheel width, and 0.80 full load amperage. The unit runs at speeds of up to 3,200 RPM at 50/60 Hertz.
You may also want to know that it has thermal protection and a blower conduit box. The single-phase blower features a sleeve bearing and shell motor enclosure.
- Powerful 3,200 RPM blower
- High CFM of 69
- Blower thermal protection
- Cast aluminum end shields
- One of the higher-priced options
6. England’s Stove AC-16 Original OEM Blower
The highest-priced product on this list, the AC-16 is a variable-speed blower (note that most of the products on this list are single-speed) with three positions (Off-Low-High).
It conveniently and evenly heats large living spaces and easily attaches to the rear heat shield with four screws that are pre-installed on the stove.
It’s a centrifugal replacement blower that fits many furnaces out there, including nearly all Fisco models. However, it’s not recommended for radiant heat stoves.
Instead, it works with 12-inch and 13-inch freestanding models. It comes with a complete blower assembly. It also works with 30-inch models that come with a blower.
The blower connects to a 120V, 0.75A circuit, and runs at up to 2,900 revolutions per minute – at 60 hertz. It’s, however, very reasonably priced at under $100.
- Variable-speed blower
- Powerful 2,900 RPM performance
- Complete blower assembly
- Works with a wide range of furnaces
- Doesn’t support radiant heaters
- Doesn’t support insert stoves
Frequently Asked Questions
- How Long Should a Furnace Blower Last? The average modern furnace has a lifespan of 20 to 30 years. However, with good maintenance, your blower system can last even longer. It also depends on how often and how much you use it.
- How Do You Know if Your Furnace Blower is Bad? A malfunctioned furnace blower makes a lot of noise or may stop working altogether, leaving your home cold or under-heated.
Furnace blowers are a crucial cog in the functioning of the furnace and effective heating in the home. Without the proper blower system, you’re unlikely to get enough warmth in your rooms.
To this end, as you head out shopping for a blower fan, make sure it’s the right fan and the proper size. You need about 440 CFM per ton.
More importantly, maintenance is vital. Always clean the fan to prevent irritating noises and preventable malfunctions.