Troubleshooting An AC Condenser Fan Motor

A failed condenser fan motor is one of the most common problems with your air conditioner unit. This is the motor that is located outside of your home. I want to write about this AC condenser fan motor because it has a lot to do with compressor failure.

What is AC Condenser Fan Motor?

It’s a fan motor with an attached blade that blows the air over the condenser coil to keep it cool. A condenser fan motor is essential as it prevents your compressor from overheating. A run capacitor assists this part. It also has a device that most homeowners are not aware of. It’s called an internal thermal overload protector.

AC condenser fan motor

It’s a small device wired into the motor wiring that protects the motor from burning up. A small thermostatic type electricity switch that allows the motor to cool down then resets and restarts the fan.

The importance of this device is that it keeps the condenser fan motor from self-destructing or catching fire. So it is a needed device. It controls the fan blade and motor to operate properly.

If the air conditioner condenser fan motor fails, the compressor will continue to run, exceeding its pressure limitations. It is forcing the compressor to start malfunctioning and overworking its safety controls.

When the internal control is weak, a condenser fan motor replacement may waste money. So it is important to diagnose the whole system to get the best solution for your air conditioner problems. This only can be done by a professional.

The key symptom for condenser fan motor malfunctioning is that your outdoor unit’s fan blade and the motor will stop turning. If you walk outside, you will hear the compressor continuing to run the making several different sounds than you’ve never heard before.

Condenser Fan Motor Replacement

When your condenser fan motor fails, you should check to be sure before you replace it. If the motor isn’t running, it doesn’t mean it failed. Other causes can lead to a motor isn’t run. Wiring problems and failed capacitors are other components that need to be checked.

The main point to consider in AC condenser fan motor replacement is to select the proper replacement. The best replacement motor is an original equipment manufacturer (OEM). You can find an exact replacement along with brands and models.

If you can’t find an exact replacement, most air conditioner models will allow you to replace it with a universal condenser fan motor. So before purchasing a universal replacement, make sure you have taken notes from the original unit. Here is what you should look for:

  • Motor Diameter (In Inches)
  • Horsepower Rating
  • Operating Voltage
  • Motor Shaft Size (In Inches)
  • RPM Speed
  • Direction Of Rotation

Next, we will go to the step-by-step guide to replace a condenser fan motor.

  1. Disconnect the ac condenser power – make sure that the power is disconnected from the ac condenser unit.
  2. Pull the condenser fan – remove all the screws securing the panel at the top of the unit and flip the grill to expose the motor and fan blade.
  3. Remove the old motor.
  4. Remove the fan blade from the motor.
  5. Disconnect the wiring.
  6. Put the new motor pay attention to the parts you have and their orientation.
  7. Reconnect the wires go back the way they come out.
  8. Tighten the bracket nut and bolt.
  9. Test out the installation.

Here is a checklist for a proper condenser fan motor replacement:

  • The blade doesn’t hit any other parts
  • Everything is wired properly
  • The blade spins freely
  • Appropriate weep/drainage ports have been removed
  • The blade should be at proper height in the shroud
  • The top is securely mounted and fastened
  • The rotation wires have been insulated and fastened securely.

Condenser Fan Motor Cost

The average cost to replace a condenser fan motor is about $300 to $400 installed. The condenser fan motor only costs anywhere from $50 to $200.

However, you may need to replace the AC capacitor too. The AC capacitor price is usually between $10 and $100.

It’s important to replace the AC fan motor sooner after you diagnose the problem. A broken fan motor will lead to issues with your AC compressor. The AC compressor replacement can cost you up to $2000 or more.

Since a condenser fan motor replacement is tricky to do on your own, it might be worth spending a little extra money to have a professional HVAC technician handle the job.

To keep the condenser fan motor working as it should, you will need to keep up with annual maintenance. While AC service requires a small upfront cost, it will inevitably save you money on expensive repairs, also extending the lifespan of your HVAC system.

About Mas Broto

Have been in the heating and air conditioning (HVAC) industry for over 20 years. He is person that will grow and thrive to learn more about the HVAC industry throughout his career. Mas Broto is also a blogger, who's dedicated to bringing you the best knowledge to get ahead in the game of life.