If you have a central air conditioner, then you probably understand that the unit has a wide variety of parts and pieces. This is especially true when it comes to the outdoor condenser unit. Some of the parts inside the AC condenser help to keep the unit cool. This stops the unit from overheating and causing a serious malfunction. The AC condenser fan is one of the more important heat reduction parts. Keep reading about air conditioning maintenance to learn why the fan is important and also how to tell if the part is starting to fail.
Why Is The AC Condenser Fan Important?
The AC condenser fan does not force cool air into the AC unit. It instead sucks outside air through the system. This air is pulled in through the aluminum vents that sit on all four sides of the unit. This air moves across the condenser coil, the condenser, the condenser motor, the wiring in the system, and the coolant lines. As the air moves, it pulls heat away from the parts of the system. The heat is then forced away from the condenser with the help of the fan blades.
Since the fan must suck air through the system, it sits on the very top of the AC unit. If you place your hand over the fan grate, then you will likely feel a blast of heated exhaust air. This is normal.
If the condenser fan fails to work or stops pulling cool air into the system, a few things can happen. The condenser motor can overheat and the seals in the condenser pump can heat up and warp. If you have a piston style pump, the piston can warp as well. The coolant in the unit will also remain warm and will not work properly to cool your home. Also, wiring can overheat and the internal safety shutoff may flip. In this case, the unit will stop working entirely and you may have a hard time restarting the unit.
How Can You Tell That The Fan Is Failing?
Since the condenser fan is important to the overall function of the AC unit, you should make sure that the fan is working at all times. If you simply do not see the fan moving and fail to see it turn on throughout the entire cooling cycle, then this is a sign that the fan needs to be checked as soon as possible.
If the fan seems to hum or make noises when it turns on, then it should be checked too. This is also true if the fan briefly turns on and then stops suddenly. You may also smell a foul burning odor when the fan tries to work. This is a sign that the fan motor is overheating and likely to fail soon. The slow movement of air through the fan grate can indicate an issue too.