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Touchstone Heating & Air Inc. Blog

What Can Cause AC Fans to Stop Working?

desk-fanYour air conditioning system has two fans that are essential for it to work. The fan you’re most used to hearing and feeling is the indoor blower fan. This fan is located at the bottom of the HVAC cabinet, where it pulls air from the return air ducts and then pushes it past the evaporator coil, where it’s cooled, and then into the ventilation system.

The second fan is in the condenser cabinet outside. This fan draws air through the grill of the cabinet to run it across the condenser coil and release heat. The fan then pushes this heat through the top of the cabinet.

If either fan stops working, you won’t have a cool home. A broken indoor fan means air won’t move through the ducts. A broken outdoor fan means the AC can’t effectively release the heat it drew from indoors and won’t cool down the home’s air.

What causes these fans to break, and what can you do about it?

The fan overloaded a circuit

Whenever one of the fans suddenly stops working, check the electrical panel for the house to see if the circuit for the AC has tripped. (The indoor and outdoor units have separate circuits.) The fans can sometimes put too much demand on their circuit and trip a breaker. If the fan keeps tripping the breaker after you re-set it, don’t try to tamper further—call for technicians to see to the electrical fault in the AC.

The fan motor has a failed contactor

The contactor in a motor allows electrical voltage to move through it. If the contactor fails, the motor will stop. An HVAC repair expert can replace the contactor to restore the motor.

A capacitor has burnt out

Capacitors are electrical components that store voltage and then transmit it to the motors to start them running (start capacitors) or keep them running (run capacitors). Capacitors are temporary components, and they’ll usually wear out before the AC does, so you will probably need to replace them at some point. Handling capacitors is potentially dangerous if you’re an amateur, so call our team for the replacement.

The fan motor has burnt out

Excessive strain placed on the fan motor due to a build-up of dust, lack of lubrication, neglected maintenance, or basic age can lead to the motor burning out. When this happens, the motor cannot be repaired; it must be replaced by professionals.

Loose or broken fan belt

New air conditioners use direct motors to turn the fans. Older ones use fan belts, and then can break or loosen and cause the fan to stop turning. Although you can have the fan belt replaced, any air conditioner that’s old enough to still use a fan belt is a prime candidate for replacement—especially if it still uses R-22 refrigerant. (Ask us about this, it’s serious.)

You can find the air conditioning repair in Lake Butler, FL that you need when you call Touchstone. We’ll diagnose your fan troubles and have it fixed, or else help you arrange for a replacement for your old air conditioning system.

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