What to Do When Your AC Fan Stops Working

Pop quiz! When is the best time for your central air conditioning system to stop working properly? Simple enough answer – never!! And yet, even with the best of care and routine maintenance, something is bound to go wrong when you need that cooling effect the most. Once such problem is a unit fan that comes to a screeching halt.

Before you call a pro, try these trouble-shooting tips.

Check the circuit breaker. Circuit breakers are prone to trip due to circuit overload or your AC system overheating. To find out if the problem has such a simple cue, flip the switch and, with any luck, the fan will re-engage. If not, check the shut-off switch on the AC unit’s side (if it has one). If it’s been accidentally turned off, flip it to the “on” position.

Is a capacitor defective? Capacitors, small cylindrical parts that store energy and power the fan, can become weak over time and need replacing. The “start” capacitor is responsible for starting the motor, while the “run” capacitor keeps the system on. If either capacitor is defective and not replaced promptly, it could cause the motor to burn out and result in more costly repairs.

Does the fan motor need to be replaced? As mentioned above, the motor fan can burn out due to defective capacitors as well as age and lack of system maintenance. If your central air system is getting up there in years, your HVAC tech may recommend replacing it instead of just replacing the motor – it’s often the more cost-effective solution.   

Check the air filter. A clogged air filter can restrict airflow which in turn can cause ice buildup around the evaporator coil. If changing the air filter doesn’t do the trick and the coil is frozen, you’ll need the assistance of a licensed HVAC pro.

Is the belt faulty? It’s common for a fan belt to become weak and brittle with time and cause the fan to stop spinning. Belt replacement is often quick work for an HVAC pro.

The moral of this story is that AC systems, like any mechanical object, don’t last forever. But you can keep yours running longer and better with annual preventive maintenance. If yours hasn’t been inspected in at least a year, contact Air Professionals today for service that will exceed your expectations.