Good air conditioning is vital to your home during the summer months. A good AC unit should keep you cool and comfortable regardless of the heat. A good AC fan is what distributes air throughout your home. But like most systems, your AC can break down, leading you to spend money on costly repairs.

Like most homeowners, you probably don’t think about the inner workings of your air conditioner. The only thing you want is a unit that produces good, clean air that keeps your home cool. But when something goes wrong, you start thinking about the mechanics of your unit. One of the first things that comes to mind is your AC’s fan motor.

AC Fan Motor Explained

Think of the fan motor as the heart of your AC unit. Without it, your fan wouldn’t work. The motor works extra hard to pump cool air throughout your home. This vital piece is the backbone of your cooling system because it turns the fan on to start the airflow. But like most machine parts, the fan motor will eventually wear out.

Your AC fan motor is the driving force that powers your fan to move. It is comprised of two major parts: the stationary stator and the rotor. The stator is the part that remains stationary. The rotor is an electrical part of the fan motor that helps put it in motion. Both parts work together to create a magnetic force that powers the fan motor to help circulate air.

Issues with the fan motor are a common cause of AC breakdowns. Your unit dies when the fan motor stops working. You could have very little to no airflow coming from your AC. When your fan motor wears out, your AC slows down and stops producing cool air throughout your home. Thankfully, fan problems can be fixed if they’re caught early. All you need to do is look for the following signs.

1. A Slow Fan

There’s nothing more annoying than dealing with an AC fan that moves at a snail’s pace. If you’ve ever turned on your AC only to have a weak airflow, the problem is usually traced to a slow-moving fan. This can cause your evaporator coils to freeze, so it’s important to get it checked out. The problem could be traced to faulty motor bearings, which can be oiled or replaced.

2. A Fan That Turns on and Off

Any fan that shuts on and off repeatedly could be traced to a bad motor. When the motor overheats, the fan shuts off, and your AC won’t work. You could also have a loose wire or a motor short.

3. Noises in the Condenser Unit

If your condenser unit suddenly starts rattling or buzzing when the fan is on, you could have any number of problems. It could be something as simple as loose debris caught up in your condenser unit. Other issues could be a lopsided fan or loose fan blades. These issues can occur over time but are easily fixed. Sudden loud or clanking noises may indicate loose parts from your fan or motor.

4. A Fan That Runs After the Unit Is Turned Off

Bad motor bearings can cause your fan to work overtime. If the fan continues to run after the unit is off, the problem may be the fan motor. It could be something as simple as your fan needing oil. Checking your motor is strongly advised as a precaution.

5. Burning Smell

A burning smell from your AC’s condenser could mean two things. The problem could be a dirty air filter, which causes overheating by restricting airflow. It could also be a bad fan motor. In any case, it isn’t a problem you want to ignore. If this happens, turn off your AC and call an HVAC specialist.

Some common reasons for a burning smell are:

  • Broken fan belt
  • Damaged capacitor
  • Faulty electrical wiring
  • An overheated fan motor

An overheated fan motor erodes the insulation around your wires and causes a burning smell. Turn off your AC and call a professional immediately. A situation like this is dangerous.

6. Check Your Circuit Breaker

If your fan cuts on and off, you could be having electrical issues. Be sure to check your circuit breaker first to see if it’s tripped. If that’s the case, all you need to do is reset it. You can do so by turning all of the switches off and on again.

7. Inspect Your Air Filter

If you live in an urban area, you’re more likely to have issues with a dirty air filter. Traffic smog and pollution are the top two culprits of this common problem. Factor in dust and pet dander and the problem just gets worse. Unfortunately, clogged filters impact airflow by decreasing it. If you start to notice limited air output, have your filters checked first. You may need to have them replaced. If your system has air ducts, they could be clogged as well. Sometimes ordinary items like empty paper chip bags can get caught in them and cause problems. A good cleaning should get your air flowing freely again,

8. Have the Outdoor Unit Checked

The outdoor unit houses your condensing unit and fan motor. When all else fails, it’s time to have it looked at. If you sense restricted airflow and strange noises, the problem could be the fan motor. The issue could also lie in the vents near the fan. If the compressor works but the fan isn’t moving, your motor could be to blame. A quick inspection will unearth the issue.

During the winter, your air conditioner suffers the impact of inactivity. Dirt and rust build up inside your unit and cause it to malfunction. Both problems present challenges for your fan blades at the start of summer. Dirt and grime can cause your fan blades to get stuck without notice. If you notice a lack of movement, call a professional.

Routine maintenance can prevent grime buildup from sticking to your fan blades. It’s best to check your air filters as a preventive measure when summer starts. You should do so before using your air conditioner.

9. Check for Other Issues

If your AC fan motor quits working, you should call your HVAC company right away. They can replace old parts or recommend an upgrade. Meanwhile, you can take a few steps to see if the issue is something else.

Trust the Experts: Relying on Professionals from Cozy Home Services

Installing a new fan motor requires the expertise of a licensed HVAC professional. In the Vacaville, CA, and surrounding areas, you can count on Cozy Home Services for your home air conditioning needs. We specialize in several areas of AC repair, including AC installation and maintenance. We’ll replace a faulty fan motor and have your air running in no time. We also upgrade your AC to a newer unit with a better carbon footprint that’s more efficient in the summer months. Contact Cozy Home Services to learn more about our AC services.