A central air conditioning system involves elaborate equipment with parts such as compressors, evaporators, condensers, refrigerant and fans running through the main units. Just like a typical household appliance, each of these vital components performs their task independently and in unison with the connecting components. So, if one element of your system starts to fail, the entire performance of the system can be compromised. Here we’ll explore what you should do if your central air conditioner has started to malfunction and the fan doesn’t appear to be working.
The Importance of the Fan
Although every component in central air conditioning systems is critical, your air conditioner will not operate if the fan has stopped running. The fan inside air conditioner systems has two roles; to pull air out of the room, so it can be conditioned and have the humidity removed and push chilled air throughout your home via the vents. If the fan does stop operating, there is simply no way to move the air around the system, so it is essentially stalled. So, it is crucial to get the fan running quickly, or there is a risk that the compressor will end up damaged and you’ll be stuck feeling very uncomfortable.
Signs Your Central Air Conditioner Fan Isn’t Working
There are a number of ways to notice if your fan is temporarily not working or permanently out of order. Firstly, you should perform an inspection of your outdoor unit to see if the fan is physically turning. You should be able to feel the condenser lines to check that they are cool and the air inside your home feels cool. If your fan is not running or there is warm air blowing throughout your home, it is time to do a little troubleshooting.
- The fan won’t start at all: If the fan doesn’t start at all, it may be something as basic as a setting being incorrect on your thermostat. Check to see if the power is turned on and your thermostat is set to “cooling.” If all of your settings are correct, but the fan still isn’t starting up, it may be due to a damaged or overheated fan motor.
- The fan has difficulty starting: In some cases, the fan could be “kick started,” with a gentle nudge with a stick or broom handle. If this gets the fan turning, there is likely to be an issue with your fan capacitor. In a similar way, if the fan doesn’t turn when the power is switched on, but it will freely rotate when it is shut off, it could be due to a bad motor bearing. Bearing issues can also cause lopsided or wobbly turning when the fan is running.
- Slow running fan: Your air conditioner fan needs to operate at optimal speeds for a proper system function. If the blades are turning noticeably slower, there could be an issue with low voltage that is caused by control board problems or issues with the circuits. Additionally, the fan blades may have loosened from the motor shaft. This will cause them to move slowly due to turning of the shaft or a breeze hitting the unit. Another cause for this is that there is a bad capacitor that is causing issues resulting in a slow moving fan.
- Intermittent starting and stopping: If your central air conditioner fan is acting unpredictably; starting at random or shutting off in the middle of a cycle, it may be an indicator of a wiring issue or a loose component somewhere in the system. This intermittent activity is usually due to the system not receiving a consistent signal to operate.
- Constantly spinning fan: It is normal for the air conditioner fan to run for short periods of time after the cycle has finished, while the compressor motor is stopping. If the fan keeps spinning excessively, it is likely to be due to a problem with the wiring or circuit board.
- Noises from the fan: As long as your air conditioner is properly running, you may be willing to ignore rattling, buzzing or ticking noises from the fan or the outdoor unit. Unfortunately, it is not a good idea to ignore these noises and diagnose the source of the sound to ensure that there are not serious problems on the horizon. Firstly, you need to check that there is no obstruction hitting the fan blades that may be preventing them from turning or that the blades have not been bent. Humming or buzzing noises tend to be a little more sinister, as they may be an indication of a problem with the bearings or the motor turning the fan blades.
Correcting the Problem
The common denominator with any of the problems we discussed above is that while a visual inspection may be able to locate the problem, you’re likely to need the assistance of a professional HVAC specialist to correct the problem. Air conditioning units are complicated systems with a great deal of electrical connections, wiring, and components that can be damaged with improper care. Additionally, there is a risk of injury if amateurs attempt to make a repair to an electrical appliance without sufficient knowledge and skills. It is far better to spend money on a service call, which will guarantee to fix the problem, rather than buying unnecessary parts or attempting incomplete fixes that may end up costing far more in the long run. An experienced technician will evaluate your system to determine the underlying reason for any fan issues and provide an effective solution to restore functionality to your system as quickly as possible.
If you are experiencing difficulties with your air conditioner fan or suspect any other issues that could be compromising the performance of your system, you can rely on a professional HVAC specialist to provide an effective solution. An experienced technician will ensure that your system is performing at optimum efficiency to ensure that you feel comfortable throughout the hot summer months without skyrocketing energy bills.