Are you are sitting in a hot house in Central Florida because your air conditioner won’t produce cool air? At American Air & Heat, sometimes our customers hope to save some money and do things themselves. We all want to save money. If you can see that an air conditioning motor is not working, let’s explain the process we will go through to fix it. The first thing we will have to establish is which air conditioning motor isn’t working. Then, we will have to diagnose why that is true. We will also have to determine the cause of the failure.
You can see your condenser motor. It is in your air conditioning system’s outer unit. It moves the fan that cools the refrigerant in the condenser coils. The condenser fan motor may have one capacitor or two. It will have two capacitors if either capacitor was replaced in the past. Whether one or two, the capacitors present need to be drained for safety. We also need to turn off the power to the unit. Capacitors present an incredible shock hazard because they store large amounts of electricity. We are also going to look for debris that may be keeping the fan from turning.
Often, the condenser motor isn’t running because a capacitor failed. We will test this electrically. If that is the case, we will install a new capacitor and test the motor and system again. We always need to determine why something failed so this won’t happen again.
If the motor was the problem, this takes more care and time. We will need to get the right size fan. The fan blade size is crucial. The wrong size fan blade will drag and overheat your condenser. We also need to establish the correct pitch of the fan blade. The wrong pitch will burn out the new motor before long.
There are a few other things we have to ensure before we choose the right replacement condenser fan motor, including:
- RPM speed
- Voltage and horsepower
- Shaft size
- Diameter of the motor
- Direction of fan rotation
- Mounting device
We replace the motor with one that will work properly the first time and every time.
If the motor and capacitors are both fine, the problem could be the contactor. The contactor is like a switch. It turns the motor on and off as needed. We always use a proper, industry-standard diagnostic process with electrical test equipment.
We are only going to replace what has failed and test the rest for proper functioning. Sometimes homeowners keep purchasing parts, trying to get the system running again. If you don’t know how to test the system electrically and aren’t safe, you can either have cost or safety issues that we will avoid.
The blower motor looks quite a bit like your condenser motor. We usually have to work harder to get to the blower motor. The parts we remove will need to be reattached when the repair is completed. The blower motor has more wires attached to it as well. We are first going to refer to a single-stage blower motor. That is the type most homeowners have. The single-stage blower can only run ‘on’ at a high level or will be ‘off.’
One issue that these blowers experience is when their vents get clogged with dirt. Clogged vents will force the blower to eventually overheat. We will be looking for this issue. If so, we will also determine the cause of dirt building up past the air filter. Sometimes, this occurs when air filters are not frequently replaced. We will have to determine why the dirt is getting past the air filter and correct the problem. After cleaning the blower and fan, we will check it for proper functioning and replace it if needed.
Sometimes, the capacitor for the blower has failed. Again, we will drain capacitors and check them electrically as well as the blower motor. When a blower motor fails, we usually recommend the capacitor get changed anyway. It is an inexpensive part and saves a second service call. When your blower motor capacitor fails, it will still look like the blower is functioning. The blade will be spinning backwards, though, and not producing much of any airflow. After a few hours, your evaporator coil has overheated, and you are sitting in a warm house.
Blowers can be very large. To change the motor, we need to take the curved plate out first. Then, we can detach the wheel from its housing. When the motor has been replaced, we securely attach the blower wheel to its housing. Otherwise, the new motor could also burn out. Sometimes, the bracket holding the housing must be replaced if it can’t be reused. The blower motor’s replacement must meet the same exact specifications as the older motor.
The ECM motor is often a variable-speed blower motor. This type of motor is for the higher-efficiency air conditioning units. We may need to have the supply house program a new ECM motor for you if it failed. Some of the ECM motors have small switches that we can program ourselves. These motors are quite a bit more expensive than the single-stage blower motors. Much of what we do to diagnose and replace the motor is the same as with the single-stage motors. They do require great care because they are very expensive, and they are more complex.
Compressor motors are sealed. In order for us to diagnose them, there are only three terminals available. If the ground has a voltage reading, the compressor motor must be replaced. Also, the other two terminals need to have resistance readings to specifications.
Sadly, this is not entirely the end of the story. A homeowner or an inexperienced technician may be fooled by the readings at the terminal. These units have a safety switch that kicks in when the compressor motor is about to overheat. Sometimes, the safety switch stays on. In this case, it is easy to mistakenly diagnose that the motor has failed. Actually, the motor is just turned off by the safety switch. Technicians need to deactivate the safety and retest the motor electrically.
When working on these motors, the same warnings about discharging capacitors and removing power to the unit need to be followed.
In the case of all air conditioning motors, there is a huge risk of electric shock. There is also the danger of getting hurt trying to remove or replace large, heavy parts. If you don’t purchase the right part, you risk other problems or the replacement part failing quickly. If you don’t get the new part in the unit properly, the same problems can recur. The wrong part or improper placement can also harm other, possibly more expensive, parts. You have to understand electrical diagnosis. You also have to constantly look for the cause of the failure and fix that as well. Be safe, and let us help you get your air conditioner up and running again.
Honest and Experienced Air Conditioning Repair in Oviedo and Central Florida
If you need air conditioning repair in Central Florida, we at American Air & Heat have been the local experts since 1987. We provide air conditioning and heating installations, maintenance and repair. If you have an emergency repair need, we are available 24/7. We also perform indoor air quality services and can set you up with a smart thermostat. All of our technicians are NATE-certified.
Our company is guided by the Golden Rule. We treat our customers with honesty and integrity. It shows in our A+ rating by the Better Business Bureau. We are also an Angie’s List Super Service Award winner as well as a Lennox Centurion Award winner. You can look on the website for regular specials that help you save money on our services. We also make it easy to finance installations on approved credit with four different providers.
If you have an AC motor going out or need any air conditioning repairs in Central Florida, call us at American Air & Heat in Oviedo. Let us help you safely and quickly get your home cool again.