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Why is My AC Fan Not Working?

CEO Khai Intela
Modern air conditioning... it's a wonderful thing in the heat of summer when you can go inside and feel the relief from a hot, sticky summer day. That's why it's so upsetting to crank up...

Modern air conditioning... it's a wonderful thing in the heat of summer when you can go inside and feel the relief from a hot, sticky summer day. That's why it's so upsetting to crank up your AC only to find the air conditioner fan not working, and the temperature in your home rising. But before you totally lose your cool, let's troubleshoot and see if it's a problem you can fix or if it's time to call your local Carrier HVAC expert for professional air conditioner service.

Know Where to Look

Assuming you have a standard split-system central air conditioner, there are two main fans that you need to check - one inside your home and one outside. The indoor fan, or "blower," is responsible for blowing cold air out to your living areas, while the outdoor fan, also known as the condenser fan, helps remove heat from your home. If either of these fans stops operating, it's important to address the issue to prevent more serious problems down the road for your cooling system.

Reasons the Central Air Conditioner Fan Is Not Working

Before you jump to conclusions and assume it's a bad fan, let's take a few minutes to determine whether other issues within your air conditioning system may be causing the problem. Your central air conditioner is a complex system with many components, and there are several possible reasons why your AC fan is not working.

Husband and wife reading on the couch Husband and wife reading on the couch

Check Your Thermostat

Start by checking your thermostat. Make sure it's set for cooling or auto mode and that an appropriate cooling temperature is selected. According to the Department of Energy, 78⁰F is a good setting for both comfort and energy efficiency when you are home. If you have a programmable thermostat, verify that your comfort schedule is properly set for cooling at the time you are experiencing the issue.

Circuit Breaker is Tripped

If your thermostat settings are correct, check your power supply. Your AC system runs on electricity, so there are a few locations you should check. First, locate your main breaker box panel and ensure that the AC system circuit breaker hasn't been tripped. If that's not the issue, check the power switch on the air handler unit inside your home and make sure it's in the "on" position. Additionally, check the power disconnect for the outdoor unit and make sure it's switched on. If a fuse in the outdoor power disconnect box is blown, it's time to call your Carrier dealer for professional assistance. If the circuit breaker continues to trip, it's important to shut down the system and call a professional HVAC technician.

Air Filter is Blocked

A clogged air filter can restrict airflow to the point that it feels like the indoor fan is not properly circulating air. In extreme cases, restricted airflow can cause the entire system to shut down. If this is the case, simply cleaning or replacing the air filter should solve the problem.

Broken Fan Blade

If you hear unusual noise coming from the outdoor unit, you might have a bad fan or a bent or broken fan blade. It's important to turn off the system at the thermostat before inspecting the outdoor unit to ensure safety. If you discover a broken or damaged fan blade, keep the system turned off and contact a local HVAC professional for repair.

Burnt Out Condenser Fan Motor

If the fan blades seem to be ok, check that the outside condenser fan motor is operating properly. Vibration or noisy operation could indicate that the fan blades are out of balance. If the fan blades don't spin at all, it's likely the condenser fan is not working and possibly burnt out, requiring replacement. In either case, we recommend calling a professional HVAC technician to diagnose and remedy the problem.

Frozen Evaporator Coil

A frozen evaporator coil can cause the air conditioner fan to stop working. This can be the result of various issues, such as a malfunctioning blower fan or low refrigerant charge. If you suspect a frozen evaporator coil, it's best to contact your local Carrier expert for assistance.

Compressor is Not Working

If the power to your AC unit is on, and the thermostat is set properly, yet there is no noise coming from the unit, the problem may be a damaged or malfunctioning compressor. Replacing a compressor is a major operation that should be performed by a licensed and experienced HVAC technician. They will be able to determine if a compressor replacement is necessary or if the entire unit needs to be replaced.

Malfunctioning Run Capacitor

The run capacitor plays a crucial role in your AC system's functioning. If it malfunctions, your AC system may not start or might start but continue to run, possibly making a humming sound. If you suspect a faulty run capacitor, it's important to contact a professional HVAC service technician. Capacitors retain electrical charge and should only be replaced or handled by a licensed and trained professional.

Find an Air Conditioner Service Professional Near You

If you have exhausted the troubleshooting steps outlined previously and are still experiencing issues with your central air conditioner fan, it's time to schedule an appointment with a certified HVAC technician. Your local Carrier HVAC dealer has the expertise needed to properly diagnose and service your AC system. Don't hesitate to reach out for professional assistance.

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