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Serving Orange County

- SINCE 1981 -

Serving Orange County

- SINCE 1981 -


Hours: Monday-Friday 7:30-5:30PM
Saturday: 8:00-1:00PM


Saddleback Plumbing Heating & Air Blog

Your AC’s Fan Isn’t Working—Here’s Why


You can probably figure out why a working fan in an air conditioning system is important. If there’s no fan, how will the cool air move through the vents to the rooms?

But there’s even more to it than that. There are two vital fans in an air conditioning system. The indoor fan is the one that distributes cool air through the house, and it also sends the air across the evaporator coil to cool it down in the first place. The outdoor fan is responsible for moving air over the condenser coil to release heat and then exhaust it outside. If either one isn’t working right, you won’t get cooling in your house.

Reasons for a Broken AC Fan

When one of the fans stops working, you’ll notice the effects quickly, even if you don’t at first notice the lack of sound from the AC cabinets. In most cases, you’ll need professional air conditioning repair in Mission Viejo, CA to fix the problem, although not always. Below are the main reasons for a non-working AC fan.

  • Tripped circuit breaker: The first thing we recommend you do when either AC fan shuts down is to check the electrical panel. The fan’s motor may have overloaded its circuit and tripped the breaker. If you do find a tripped breaker, reset it and see if the fan comes back on. If the fan continues to trip the breaker, there’s an electrical issue with the air conditioner requiring experts to repair.
  • Failed capacitors: Capacitors are the electrical components that store energy and then send it to the fan motors to start them and keep them running; they’re something like temporary batteries. Capacitors will wear down over time, and the ones in the outside cabinet are susceptible to the heat and will lose their ability to hold a charge. If you hear a clicking sound from the cabinets when the AC tries to start, it’s probably a capacitor issue—and only professionals can do the replacement.
  • Contactor problems: The contactor is the electric switch in the fan motor itself. It can also go bad and cause the motor to lose electricity. As with replacing capacitors, replacing contactors is something only trained professionals can do. (Getting this wrong will mean a burnt-out motor!)
  • Burnt-out motor: Speaking of which … when the motor overheats, often due to excessive strain on its parts from lack of lubrication, the wires in the housing will fuse and the motor will burn out. There’s no coming back for the motor after this. It needs to have professionals replace it.
  • Broken fan belt: This only applies to older air conditioners. Modern ACs use direct motors to run the fan. If the belt comes loose or breaks, the fan won’t run. A loose belt often makes a loud clanging and slapping sound. It’s probably not worth repairing because of the AC’s age. Instead, have a new air conditioner installed.

When in doubt, always call us and we’ll find out what’s wrong and how best to fix it.

Saddleback Plumbing Heating & Air has served Orange Country since 1981. Call us for AC repairs to get your air conditioner back in shape!

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