How to Check if AC Fan Motor is Bad

If your air conditioner is not working properly, it can be a long guessing game to try to figure out what’s wrong with it. Changing the air filters regularly is a slam dunk. But what if you’ve been doing that and your AC is still not running well?

If you suspect the issue is the motor, read below for signs and symptoms that the AC fan motor is bad and simple ways to troubleshoot.

5 Signs Your AC Fan Motor Is Bad

The most telltale signs that there’s an issue with the fan motor are:

  1. The cooling fans won’t turn on
  2. The fan turns on when the AC is running, but the blades rotate slowly
  3. You can hear a rattling noise coming from the condenser unit
  4. It smells like something’s burning
  5. Blown fuse

Where Is the AC Fan Motor?

The fan motor is located inside an air conditioner’s condenser unit. This is the large, square box that sits outside your house. You’ll be able to see it through the vents at the top of the unit.

How to Check if AC Fan Motor is Bad

There are several things you can do to check if the issue with your air conditioner is the fan motor.

  1. Check the circuit breaker panel. This is most likely the case if you had too many appliances running at once. If it’s set to the “off” position, set it to the middle setting before switching it back to “on”.
  2. Check whether there’s anything obstructing the fan. Since the condenser unit is outside, it’s possible for leaves or small branches to fall through the top vents and interfere with the fan’s movement. To do this, insert a stick through the vents and give them a push. If the fan doesn’t move, unscrew the top of the condenser unit to remove anything that’s stuck on the blades. Make sure to turn off the air conditioner before doing so. If the blades do move, the issue may be with the AC’s capacitor.
  3. If the problem is the capacitor, test it. The capacitor is easy to identify because it’s shaped like a cylinder, like a small can of beer. The top of a working capacitor should be flat. If it’s bulging, replace it. If it’s flat but your fan motor is still not turning on, you’ll want to test the capacitor to see if it’s still working. You can purchase a tester at any hardware store. And as usual, turn off the air conditioner before doing any work on it.

How to Prevent AC Fan Motor Issues

Fan motors can start to fail due to regular wear and tear as well as the age of your air conditioner. However, dust buildup can block its ventilation, causing the motor to overheat. You can prevent this from happening by scheduling regular maintenance. In fact, maintenance is sometimes a prerequisite for some manufacturers to honor their warranties. Read the fine print and call us to keep your HVAC system running smoothly.

No matter the type of AC issues, we can help.

At Complete Air Mechanical, we have experienced HVAC professionals who can inspect your AC and/or install a unit that’s right for your home or business. We provide service in Orange, Osceola, Seminole, and Volusia counties, and we offer financing options.

Call us at (407) 915-0144 or schedule an appointment online and let us make your home comfortable.