Air Conditioner Fan Not Running – What Could Be Wrong?

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An air conditioner fan failing to run usually spells trouble. Not only will the appliance not supply cold air, but this issue might also be an indication of an underlying problem. Now you’re wondering what could be wrong if your air conditioner fan isn’t running. We searched for possible answers for this concern and found the following.

Different causes exist that might become the grounds to air conditioner fans not running. Some possible reasons are:

  • Capacitor problems
  • Power issues
  • Damaged motor
  • Dirty air filter
  • Damaged or broken fan belt

Take note that restoring the functionality of an AC fan motor often depends on the source of the issue. Keep reading as we talk about the different reasons why an air conditioner fan isn’t running in greater detail. We’ll also tackle various techniques on how to fix an AC fan.

A mini-split type air conditioning units in the living room, Air Conditioner Fan Not Running - What Could Be Wrong?

How Do I Know If My AC Fan Motor Is Bad?

Perhaps the first sign of a faulty air conditioner fan motor is when it doesn’t turn. A rotating fan should produce a mild humming noise. An absence of this sound can mean that something’s amiss with the cooling unit, and it might not only be its fan.

Air conditioning ventilation fans

The following are some possible reasons why your AC fan is malfunctioning or stopped working:

Capacitor Problems

An air conditioner’s capacitor functions by storing sufficient electricity for the appliance to run as intended. If this part fails, the fan cannot acquire the required energy for it to function as intended. Replacing this component should restore the fan’s optimal output.

Check out this AC capacitor on Amazon.

Power Issues

A lightning storm or a power surge may cause the AC to receive more electricity than it should, causing the circuit breaker to trip. Replacing the switch may restore power to the air conditioner’s fan and the rest of the appliance’s components.

Check out this 50 amp 120/240V circuit breaker on Amazon.

Damaged Motor

The typical air conditioner fan should last about 12 years with proper care. However, the fan may only survive as far as 3 years. The stress from using the cooling system for extended periods can bring about wear and tear to the fan motor, causing it to stop sooner than later. Repairing the fan motor is possible if it only accumulated reasonably mild stress over the years.

Dirty Air Filter

Air conditioner air filters work by preventing entry to dirty particulates, which would otherwise enter the indoor space. Over time, the filter becomes riddled with dust, dirt, and small debris that blocks cold air produced by the fan. If left unchecked, ice can build up in the fan motor, restricting and even stopping its basic functions. Cleaning the air filter may solve this concern.

Covering the air conditioner when not in use can also help reduce dirt buildup in the appliance. Read our post on the best air conditioner covers to find the ideal material for your cooling unit.

Damaged or Broken Fan Belt

Many reasonably old air conditioners have belts connected to the fan motors. These parts work similarly to bicycle chains. Damages or faults acquired by the fan belts can result in the motors to stop working. Replacing this piece of equipment should recover the AC fan’s proper functionality.

Check out this belt for air conditioner fan motors on Amazon.

How To Troubleshoot An Air Conditioner Fan Motor?

A technician insulating the wires of the air conditioner

Oftentimes the main cause of an air conditioner fan failing isn’t immediately visible to the naked eye. Homeowners might need to open covers and take out some parts from their cooling systems to find the cause of this problem.

But before doing any troubleshooting to your air conditioner, make sure to disconnect it from its power source. Doing so will reduce the risks of accidents, especially electrocution. Also, take a look at your owner’s manual to figure out how to open the air conditioner’s cover, and to know the appearances and locations of each part.

After finishing the preparations, here are the steps to help you find the reason why the appliance’s fan isn’t functioning well:

  1. Check the air filter if it’s dirty. If it’s still relatively clean, proceed to the next step.
  2. Verify if the capacitor acquired damages. Also, check the fan belt if the air conditioner is a fairly old model.
  3. Look at the fan motor for signs of harm like a damaged case.
  4. If the parts in the air conditioner seem fine, the problem may lie in the circuit breaker. Open your home's fuse box to check if the AC’s switch tripped.

You can also watch the video below to gain more insight on how to troubleshoot an air conditioner fan that’s not functioning:

How Do I Fix My AC Fan Is Not Working?

Air conditioning condensers outside the house

The procedure to fix a faulty AC fan usually depends on the main source of the problem. Also, and like with troubleshooting an air conditioner, make sure to turn off the power from the AC or disconnect the appliance from the home’s power source to prevent accidents.

Additionally, only tinker with an air conditioner if you have sufficient knowledge and skill in electronics. If you’re not confident with your understanding and current skillset in fixing an AC, leave this project to a certified electrician.

After thinking about those precautions, continue reading this section to learn the steps to repair an AC fan based on different causes.

Change an AC Capacitor

Ensure that the replacement AC capacitor is compatible with the appliance. You can check the owner’s guide or request help from the manufacturer to know the precise capacitor model you need for this operation.

Once you have your new air conditioner capacitor, you can proceed with the rest of this procedure:

What You’ll Need

  • New capacitor
  • Pliers
  • Phillips screwdriver

Step-by-Step Guide

  1. Unscrew and remove the control panel cover.
  2. Hold the new capacitor next to the old or damaged unit. Then, transfer each wire connected to the old capacitor to the new model. Use a pair of pliers to remove the wires from the old capacitor.
  3. Unscrew and take out the old capacitor from its bracket.
  4. Install the new capacitor and secure it in place by screwing it in its bracket.
  5. Reinstall the control panel cover, restore power to the air conditioner, and test the appliance.

Watch the video below to learn additional details about changing an air conditioner capacitor:

Replace the AC Circuit Breaker

First, locate the fuse box in your home. Open it and find the tripped the AC's switch. Take note of the exact model of the tripped circuit breaker. Then, go to a local shop to purchase a new switch that's the same model as the one that tripped.

A white mini-split type air conditioning units

After getting the new circuit breaker switch, you can continue with this repair operation:

What You’ll Need

  • Screwdriver
  • Pliers

Step-by-Step Guide

  1. Remove the circuit breaker panel and set it aside safely.
  2. Unscrew the damaged or tripped switch from the panel. You may need a flathead or Philips screwdriver for this step, depending on your home’s electrical setup.
  3. Use a pair of pliers to disconnect the wires from the faulty switch.
  4. Pull the tripped switch from its bottom to remove it.
  5. Install the new circuit breaker to the same slot. Start by setting the switch from its top before setting its bottom part. You should hear an audible ‘click’ to know that it’s in place.
  6. Attach the wires to the new switch and screw the setup in place.
  7. Put the cover back onto the panel, turn the switch on, and test the air conditioner.

You can also watch the video below for a visual representation of the steps mentioned above:

Clean Dirty AC Filters

Air conditioner filter removal generally requires different procedures depending on the type of cooling system. For example, removing the filter from a mini-split system usually has dissimilar steps to taking out that component from a portable model. Read your owner’s manual to know how to remove the filter before proceeding with this task.

The following guide can you clean a split air conditioner and potentially restore efficient functionality to its fan:

What You’ll Need

  • Microfiber cloth
  • Vacuum cleaner

Step-by-Step Guide

  1. Vacuum the loose dust and dirt from the filter.
  2. Dip the microfiber cloth in lukewarm water and wipe the filter with it.
  3. Let the filter air dry before putting it back into the air conditioner.

Watch this video to know additional details about how to clean a dirty AC filter:

Resetting an air conditioner may also help restore the fan’s operations. Read our post on how to reset a Bryant air conditioner split unit to know the steps to correct errors encountered by that particular cooling system.

Final Words

Air conditioner fans can stop working because of certain underlying issues. These problems can range from bad AC capacitors to damaged fan belts. Restoring optimal functionality to the AC fan often demands taking the correct solution based on the main problem.

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