How to Replace the Squirrel Cage Blower of an Air Handler

What You'll Need
Crescent wrench

An air handler is a tool that is a common component of various air conditioning systems and function to acclimatize and move air. It consists of several parts including the cooling or heating chambers, blowers, filter cracks, sound attenuators, dampers and chambers. Smaller air handlers are often referred to as terminal units, which consist only of air filters, coil and blower. In some units, the blower is also known as the squirrel cage, and is located inside the blower assembly of the air handler. Its prime purpose is to collect air, and direct it to pass to the ducts that will be scattered to the interior of the building.  Due to some reasons, such as duration of use and rusting, the squirrel cage blower may not effectively perform its function. This is often manifested as a squeaking sound heard when the unit is turned on. In this case, there is a need to replace the squirrel cage blower. Here are the steps on how to do it.

Step 1 - Opening of the Air Handler Access Panel

Since the squirrel cage blower is a component of the air handler, gaining access to it implies opening the panel of the air handler. But before unscrewing the access panel, turn off the unit first, to avoid electrocution or other untoward event. Open the access panel of the air handler, by taking off the nuts using the nut-driver, often found close to the center of the access panel.

Step 2 - Removing the Blower Assembly

Once the access panel is opened, remove the screws that hold the blower assembly inside the air handler. Search for a series of wires, that connect the air handler and the blower motor. This is often on one side of the air handler, so finding it is not at all difficult. Disconnect the wires, sliding them out from the base of the motor, such that that whole assembly is now freed from the air handler. Put the whole blower assembly on the ground, making sure that the bottom part of the motor is faced up.

Step 3 - Taking off the Motor from the Blower Assembly

The next step is to remove the motor from the whole blower assembly. You can do this by loosening the bolts that keep the motor in place. Take off the bolts then slide out the motor.  You have to flip over the whole assembly, for the motor to slide out.

Step 4 - Removal and Replacement of the Wheel

Once the motor is removed from the blower assembly, remove the blower wheel, by unscrewing the screws keeping the wheel in place. Slide out the old wheel, and put on the new wheel. Replacethe screws. Line the assembly back over the motor shaft, by tightening the bolt of the shaft, keeping the motor and the blower assembly together.

Step 5 - Putting back the Blower Assembly inside the Air Handler

Once the motor is secured back to the blower, flip over the assembly and put back the bolt, to keep the motor in place. Slide the assembly back inside the air handler, and put back the screws that were earlier removed.  Reconnect the wires of the air handler to the motor. Replace all the bolts that were removed earlier, before turning the power back on.