AC fan not spinning

Why Your AC Fan is Not Spinning

An air conditioner unit is one of the most important home devices during the scorching summer days. It not only helps to maintain a cool, comfortable indoor environment, but it also removes excess humidity from your house.

Too much humidity will lead to stained ceilings and walls, musty odors, moldy bathrooms, and other unpleasant — or potentially hazardous — experiences. This means that a malfunctioning AC unit isn’t the ideal situation to have in your home during the hot season.

One of the major reasons that the AC might not be pumping enough cool air into your house is a malfunctioning AC fan. It might seem like a minor component of an AC, but in essence, it’s among the most crucial.

The AC fan helps blow air across the unit’s condenser coil, prompting the refrigerant to generate cool air and spread it throughout the house. So, when an AC fan is not spinning, no cooled air will reach your house.

But what might be the cause of an AC fan not spinning?

Let’s find out.

Reasons Why an AC Fan is not Spinning

There are several reasons why an AC fan might abruptly stop spinning and as many ways to fix the problem. These include:

1. Power Issues

This is one of the simplest reasons why your AC fan might stop spinning. If the power to your AC unit is abruptly cut off, then the AC fan will certainly stop spinning – the entire unit will shut off too.

A tripped circuit breaker is the main culprit for an abrupt power cut-off. And, the tripping is mainly caused by overheating of the unit or a power surge.

If a circuit breaker is the cause of an AC unit fan not spinning, all you need to do is locate the circuit breaker box and flip the switch back on. 

2. Bad or Faulty AC Capacitor

An AC capacitor is a battery that stores energy to charge your AC motor. Usually, it is a small cuboid or cylindrically-shaped device that helps to turn on the motor.

Without it, the motor won’t run, and the AC fan will not spin either. Consequently, no cool air will be blown to the desired rooms of your house. 

But how do you detect a bad AC capacitor?

  • Your AC has trouble starting
  • Your AC keeps shutting down
  • A humming sound is coming from the AC
  • The AC doesn’t blow cold air into the house

Testing a failed capacitor is also easy. If you notice any of the signs mentioned above, take a screwdriver and gently slide it between the vents to reach the fan. Try to jumpstart the fan by pushing the fan blades a bit. If it starts to spin, then that means the capacitor is bad.

From here, you can call a professional to help you fix the problem.

3. A Burned-out Motor

Sometimes, the AC unit’s motor might be the reason behind your AC fan not spinning. Like any other mechanical device, wear and tear will take a toll on the motor over time.

This means that the motor will gradually stop functioning as required and ultimately stall. Since the motor is responsible for spinning the AC fan, when it stops, the fan also stops spinning. When you find an AC fan motor hot and not spinning, a burned-out or faulty motor might be to blame. 

Generally, when the motor is the culprit for a stalled AC fan, your options are to either call a professional HVAC technician for repair or buy a new AC unit. And, since most AC units have a lifespan of around ten years, you can decide if it’s time to replace the unit depending on its age.

Regular maintenance of your AC system will certainly go a long way in preventing such incidents as an AC fan not spinning.

4. A Faulty Belt

While most new AC units no longer use belts, the old ones still do. If you have an old AC unit that uses a fan belt, it might be the cause of the AC motor not spinning.

The main problem with a belt can be either that the belt becomes too loose or it is broken. In either of the two scenarios, the AC fan will not spin as required.

If you suspect the belt to be the culprit, you might try changing it yourself, although it’s more recommended that you contact a professional.

Note: A broken belt might be a sign that your AC unit needs replacing. Therefore, you might want to start shopping around for a new AC.

However, the technician should be able to diagnose the actual problem with your unit and offer the most practical solution.

5. Contactor Issues

The AC is a collection of numerous small components working harmoniously to provide the ideal room conditions you desire. One such component is a contactor. When the contactor fails, it will also make the AC fan stop spinning.

A contactor is responsible for controlling electricity flow throughout an AC unit. When you switch the unit on, the contactor lowers, allowing the flow of electricity. On the other hand, by turning off the AC, the contactor will go up, blocking the power flow.  

When a contactor is burned-out, due to wear and tear or overheating, the proper flow of electricity into the unit is hindered. Subsequently, the other parts of the AC will stop operating, including the AC fan.

Contact a professional HVAC technician to determine whether this is the main problem.

6. Broken AC Fan

Sometimes, the fan itself might simply be the problem. A faulty or broken AC fan might cause it not to spin. Therefore, you may as well start by checking whether the fan is in good condition.

For instance, broken blades or jammed bearings can result in the AC fan stalling and not functioning well. Such issues with the fan might even cause other problems for the AC unit.

For example, when the motor is running but the fan bearings are jammed, it might cause the motor to burn out. An HVAC expert will help identify the underlying problem.

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