Why Is the AC Fan Not Spinning?


Your air conditioner has two fans, one on the outside of the home and one inside. The indoor AC fan contributes to refreshingly cool home temps by blowing air over the chilled refrigerant coils. You can feel the effects as cold air blows out of your home’s ventilation ducts. The outside AC fan also plays a significant part, blowing air over warmed refrigerant to get rid of heat and cool the system back down. An AC fan not spinning means your home’s HVAC system won’t be able to do its job correctly.

There are many reasons for an AC not working in Florida. Some are minor issues, and others are larger problems. Here are the most common causes of an AC fan not working and signs to watch out for:

1. Thermostat or Breaker Turned Off

You wouldn’t believe the number of times a customer calls us for AC repairs only to discover that the issue is a tripped circuit breaker. Before scheduling a repair visit, we always ask customers in the Tri-County area to quickly check that the thermostat is correctly turned on and there is power to the unit.

2. Wiring Issues

Another simple reason the outdoor fan may not be working is that it’s not getting power. There may be a loose wire somewhere. That’s why part of our preventative maintenance involves checking every wiring connection.

3. Failed Capacitors

The outdoor AC fan has several capacitors. These are like small batteries that store power to start the fan and keep it running. If one or both of these capacitors fail, the fan won’t be able to start or keep up sufficient speed. The start capacitor is responsible for providing the burst of

energy needed to get fan blades going, and the run capacitor delivers a smaller amount of current during operation.

After a while, what can happen is that these tiny batteries lose the ability to store energy efficiently. The capacitors are stored outside because they have to deal with dust, dirt, wind, and moisture. Damaged fan capacitors are actually a fairly common problem, especially in AC units over ten years old or those that haven’t been properly maintained.

4. Fan Motor Breakdown

Even though AC fan motors are designed to put up with a lot, they can break down over time. It’s more common for fans to fail when the system has to run too hard to keep up with demand. This can happen if the HVAC unit’s output is too small for your home or Florida heat waves last too long. The only way to fix a burnt-out AC fan motor is to replace it, which you’ll need a professional A/C repair company for.

5. Compressor Contactor Problems

When both the compressor and outdoor fan have stopped running simultaneously, the problem tends to be the compressor contactor. This part decides when to send power to the rest of the system. If it burns out, the switch gets stuck in the “off” position.

6. Broken Fan Belt

If a fan belt breaks, the fan can’t turn, yet everything else is still working just fine. Fixing the issue is as simple as replacing the belt.

7. Seized or Dirty Fan Bearings

The bearings are responsible for helping the fan turn smoothly. Over time, dirt and contaminants can find their way into bearing grease, scratching the bearings or causing them to seize up. Depending on the damage, you need a pro to either repack existing bearings with fresh lubricant or replace them.


How Can You Fix an AC Fan That Isn’t Spinning?

Most of the time, it’s easiest just to call an A/C repair company to check your air conditioner. Regular maintenance is something the unit needs anyway, so you may as well kill two birds with one stone and have professionals inspect the outside fan while cleaning the HVAC system. If you enjoy minor DIY tasks, however, there are a few things you can check yourself:

  • Check the circuit breaker: Has the air conditioner simply tripped a circuit breaker? In that case, you can fix the issue by resetting the breaker. To do this, turn the switch off and then on again.
  • Look at the air filter: A dirty or blocked air filter inside or outside can lead to many problems with AC components. Any time you see a dirty air filter, replace it right away. You should change them every month or two anyway.
  • Clear away debris: Twigs and leaves can get wrapped around the fan axle. This will stop the fan from turning, even though everything else works properly. An easy way to prevent this issue is to keep the area around your outside HVAC system as clean as possible, clearing away leaves and other debris.

One important thing to remember is that you should never keep a broken air conditioner running. This can permanently damage expensive system parts such as the compressor, basically requiring you to buy a whole new unit. If replacing dirty air filters doesn’t fix the problem, the best thing you can do is turn off the AC, call us, and wait for our technicians to arrive. We’re happy to provide 24/7 emergency service, so you won’t have to wait long for repairs.


What Are the Signs an AC Fan Motor Is Bad?

If the outdoor AC fan stops running, you may notice the results right away. Instead of oh-so-wonderful cold air, the air conditioner may push out hot air. Maybe the fan is running, but much slower than usual. Sometimes, you can still cool your house, but the AC has to work much harder to keep up, running a lot longer than usual. If you get a huge electricity bill, there’s a good chance that an AC not working is the reason.


Why Should You Call an A/C Repair Company Right Away?

As soon as you notice an AC fan not spinning, it’s a smart idea to contact an A/C repair company. A fan that’s not turning is more serious than having to put up with minor discomfort. It can cause problems with humidity, wasted electricity, unit damage, and even heat stroke in Florida. If you need assistance with this issue, contact our friendly team at Tri County Air right away.