24 Apr. 19

Central Air Conditioner fan not working: what to do


As delightful as your HVAC systems can be, they can also flip anytime. One of the most commonly reported problems of an air-conditioner is the fan not working as it should. When your fan is not rotating as it should, not only does your house get hot, it is also normal for you to worry.

However, do not panic; this article contains info that will lead you through solving most of these problems. But before we get down to business, let us help you understand the basics. Several things can cause your fan not to turn, and you need to understand them before we move forward.

Why does my air conditioner use a fan?

Designed with your central air conditioner are two fans. There is one on the inside which blows fresh air into your home. The second one is located on the outside and releases heat from your home by blowing over the condenser coils. These fans work hand in hand with the refrigerant to ensure that your home remains soothing. So, when there is a problem with either of these fans or the two, your air conditioner will be unable to cool your home adequately. Some of the common problems causing this have been highlighted for you.

Symptoms to look out for

Some indicators that your air conditioner fan is faulty include:

  1. When your fan is running slowly: Your fan is expected to run optimally and at speed to function correctly. Once this is not the case, there is a high probability that one of the causes to be further discussed have taken effect. It may be as a result of under-voltage, and it could also result from problems with the capacitor among others.
  2. Fan stopping regularly: If your fan is constantly stopping without your input, you should know that there is a problem. It is better to start an inspection as soon as possible
  3. The fan is not starting: The problem can also be that your fan is not starting. It is possible that this can be a simple matter of settings. Perhaps you changed your fan settings innocently. Look over the settings again, set the thermostat on, put the power on and ensure that the settings are set for “cooling.” If this is not the case, then your air con may have developed a fault.
  4. The fan is not starting on its own: There are instances where your air con does not start on its own. In this case, you may have to start it by manually rolling the fan or touching it.  Once, this is happening; there is no doubt that there is a problem. In most cases, this is usually a capacitor issue.
  5. The fan won’t stop: Sometimes, your fan may refuse to stop when you switch off the air conditioner. This is abnormal and is a cause for alarm. In this case, it is likely that problems are arising from the circuit breaker.
  6. When the fan is making noise: It is also possible that your fan may be making unusual noises. This calls for urgent inspection to ensure that the noise is not causing more significant problems beneath. It is possible that the fan is being disturbed by an obstacle which can easily be removed. If upon inspection, there is nothing of such nature, then the problem may be caused by a more technical issue.

Common reasons your central air conditioner fan could be malfunctioning

When your air conditioner fan stops working, the fault often results from an energy or power source which has malfunctioned. It is possible that a component has flipped or may be damaged. This makes it convenient for technicians to know where to look almost immediately. Getting it fixed can also be easy for you.

Some of the common causes of a faulty fan include:

1. Capacitor problems

The work of a capacitor and your air conditioner fans are interconnected. The capacitor serves as the store which saves energy that powers your air conditioner fans. So, when the capacitor develops problems, your air con fans are bound to stop or not work well. Although several reasons can spoil a capacitor, it is better to replace a capacitor once it becomes bad.

2. Faulty circuit breaker

Sometimes, your circuit breaker can be the component causing your fans not to spin well. Your air conditioning unit comes with a circuit breaker which is connected to the condenser unit of the air con. The circuit breaker constantly provides the necessary energy needed to run the conditioning process. As a result of this connection, when the circuit breaker develops some fault, you are bound to find one of your air con fans having problems.

Although several factors can make the circuit breaker malfunction, one particular situation is prevalent. This is when the air conditioner is demanding more power than the circuit breaker can provide. Possibly, there may be other issues as well which demand further inspection from your end.

3. Disconnect box issues

The fuses in charge of the regulation of power supply in the air conditioning system are located in a small box called the disconnect box. The disconnect box is located close to the condenser unit. Since these fuses are responsible for large supply and regulation of energy, they can blow up at any time. They can also pop as a result of the age factor. This is why they have to be handled with utmost care. When these fuses develop a fault, your fans are likely to stop working.

4. Faulty contactors

A contactor is an electric switch. This switch regulates the compressor and condenser fan motor and can often go bad. One of the problems that can damage a contactor is under-voltage. When the contactor gets damaged, it can stop the adequate functioning of the fan on the outside. We advise that you leave the repair of a contactor to HVAC professionals. This is because of certain technical intricacies that are involved in the process.

5. Primary motor control problems.

The primary motor control which is located in the condenser can also be a cause of fan problems. The motor control is a magnetic switch which receives signals from the thermostat. As a result of the constant flipping of the switch, it may develop problems over time.  Once it develops a problem and fails to operate, the fans also stop working.

It should also be noted that the vibration that results as a result of the operation of the air con can also cause the wiring to shift. Although this will most likely occur in a situation where the air con is getting old, it is a factor that should be considered.

6. Loose or damaged belts

There are certain air conditioners that come with belt-powered fans. These belts are very susceptible to loosening up or getting torn. Since the belts are directly connected with the fans, their loosening up or getting spoilt will affect the running of the fan. Also, when the air con starts to age, the belts may become weak and unable to power the fans anymore.

7. Central motor problems

This is different from the motor discussed earlier.  This motor is a sealed one. They come directly sealed from the factory where the air con was manufactured. They come sealed to prevent them from coming in contact with water or debris that can damage them. To keep them running, there is provision for lubrication oil to keep the motor running. Over time, the seal keeping the motor starts to break down, and the lubrication oil slips out. Without this lubricant, the running of the motor becomes hindered, and fans start to malfunction.

My air conditioner fan is not working. What to do?

1. If the problem is with the fan and fan motor

If your fan is not working as it is meant to, it may be the fan or the fan motor. In a perfectly working air conditioner, the fan draws air over the evaporator coils and redistributes the air around to create a soothing atmosphere. When the fan is malfunctioning, there will be a limited supply of air or no air at all. As a result of this deficiency of the fan, evaporator coils become frosty and cold thereby restricting air flow. To fix this, you would have to check your fan.

In getting this done, locate the cabinet containing the fan and the fan motor. With the proper tool, remove the cover.  Look at the fans and ensure that they roll easily. Check if they are still in shape or damaged. If they are damaged, you have to change the fans. Even if they are not damaged, but still do not run perfectly, you may have to change them. In both situations, however, it is better you allow a qualified HVAC technician to do the job.

2. The capacitor

When your air conditioner fan runs slowly, it most likely is because of the capacitor. Most air conditioners make use of a capacitor in the fan motor circuit. To fix the capacitor, you will have to access it. The capacitor is located in the inner cabinet as well, and to access it, the cover has to be removed.

Check to ensure that the fan is not disturbed in its turning. Also, check that there is no defective wiring. If all these are checked and there are no signs, you may have to get the help of a qualified professional.

3. The air filter

A common and established cause of air conditioners not blowing air is a clogged air filter. A perfect air conditioner draws air over the evaporator coils, cools the air, and re-circulates the air around the home. However, when the air filter is clogged, there is little air or no air at all for the refrigerant to cool. This would also affect the amount of air that gets re-distributed. As such, you have to get the air filter cleaned.

To do this, look behind the front grille, you should see the air filter located in front of the evaporator coil. Clean the air filter regularly. If the evaporator coils are dirty as well, ensure that they are cleaned. You can clean with soapy water. Also, we recommend that you change the filter as often as required.

4. The Electronic Board

The electronic board is another area where the problem affecting the fan could be originating. If you have inspected the air filter and fan motor, the electronic board is your next stop for action. The PCB otherwise known as the electronic board is responsible for regulating the compressor and fan motors. It can be checked, but we advise that such a task is attempted only by qualified personnel.

Additional thoughts

Our research has shown that many people do not consider the right factors before getting their HVAC systems. This is one of the reasons they end up having recurring issues with their air conditioners

Looking towards getting a new air conditioner? Then, you should consider the following factors.

First, it is essential that you look out for how many decibels of noise the air conditioner generates. It is counter-productive to get an air conditioner whose noise will not allow you to enjoy other gadgets like your TV. This is vital especially if you plan to install the air con in your living room, bedroom, or your office.

Secondly, ensure that the air conditioner has and supports digital features. These features make for efficiency both during use and during the repair. You can easily operate your air con and control your thermostat. Also, there are features that alarm you once there is a fault in your air conditioner. This makes repair very convenient. These controls allow you to regulate the airflow at your comfort.

Lastly, you can save money by ensuring that your air con is energy compliant. You do not need an air conditioner that takes a huge toll on your power bill. It should, however, be noted that the right air conditioner that will cater for your need depends on the size of the room you are trying to cool.

In conclusion, many of the common causes that affect your air con fan can be easily averted. All you have to do is to have a regular maintenance attitude. This will reduce the risk of your fan having problems. However,  in the event of a serious fault, you may need the services of HVAC experts. We can take care of that you. Our HVAC experts are highly trained and capable of repairing your air con fans. We can also handle general maintenance. Call us today!