Having issues with your central air conditioning unit can be frustrating, especially during the dog days of summer, when you need it the most. Sometimes when this happens, it’s the fan not working. There are several reasons this can happen, and several ways to address the issue. Here are some of the things that can go wrong, and how you can diagnose and fix them.
Fan Isn’t Working, and You Can’t Hear the Compressor
Checking to see if this is the case is fairly simple. First, turn on your A/C unit, and then head outside to listen for the compressor working. Even if the fan is not working, the compressor should still be humming. If you don’t hear anything, the problem isn’t the fan. It’s more likely that your unit isn’t getting any electricity. The cause could be a circuit breaker, or a contactor.
First, you’ll want to turn off your air conditioner, and check the circuit breaker to see if it’s “on.” If it’s in the “off” position, click it back to “on,” and turn your unit back on. If it doesn’t start up after that, it could be a faulty contactor. In order to check for this, you’ll need to check the voltage in the contactor. Calling a professional in is recommended at this point, as it’s not a job for novices.
Fan Isn’t Working, But You Can Hear the Compressor
If you turn on your A/C unit and the fan doesn’t work, but you can hear the compressor, it may be a bad capacitor. This is the component that runs the fan. It doesn’t take much energy for the fan to go once it gets going, but it does take some energy for it to get started. The energy to start the fan is stored in the capacitor, like a battery.
If you can, use a large stick or a non-conducive, long object to try and push the fan, and give it a “kick-start.” If this works, it’s probably an issue with the capacitor, and you’ll want to call in a professional to take a look at it. If this doesn’t work, and the fan doesn’t start up, there could be another issue.
If the fan doesn’t start, even with some help, it could be the fan’s motor. In general, bad motors are more common with units that are exposed to a lot of dirt or debris, or poorly maintained. The only way to fix a bad motor is to replace it. If you suspect that a bad motor is the problem, a certified HVAC repairman can help get your unit back up and running.
Fan Spins Slowly
If you’ve noticed that your fan is spinning slowly, it may be time to change the air filter on the unit. Not everyone knows that they need to change the filter regularly, and when it isn’t changed, dirt and dust can build up, reducing air flow and leading to issues for the fan. If you notice that the fan is spinning slowly and is making loud noises, it could be a different issue altogether.
If the fan is just running slowly, check your air filter, and make sure it’s clean. As mentioned, a clogged filter can restrict airflow, and cause a fan to burn out.
If the fan is spinning slowly and making a loud, grinding noise, it may be blocked by debris. In this case, turn off your unit at the thermostat and the breaker, and check the fan for debris. Clear out any that you can, and check to see if it runs. If that’s not the problem, you may have to call in an HVAC repairman.
Fan Turns Off Randomly
If your fan or system are turning off randomly, there is probably an issue with wiring or control board.
For this, it’s best to call an HVAC repairman to take a look.
Have an HVAC professional address your central air conditioning unit
An efficient, smooth-running central air conditioning unit will keep you and your family cool all summer. If you’re having issues with the fan, call the Fredericksburg area experts at Robert B. Payne, Inc. Schedule an appointment today at (540) 373-5876.