AC Fan Not Working? The Homeowners Guide to Cool Air

AC Fan Not Working

Is Your AC Fan Not Working?

There’s nothing worse in summer than an air conditioner that’s not keeping your home cool. Your AC unit fan is an integral part of your air conditioning unit.

If you have a central air conditioning unit, Your AC is fitted with two fans. An indoor fan inside your indoor air handler is responsible for moving cold air in and around your home. Your outdoor fan is what transfers the heat from your home to the outside air and is located within the outdoor unit.

So if there’s an issue with either of the air conditioner’s fans, your air conditioning system is as good as dead!

Below is a list of the most common AC fan problems and how you, as a homeowner, can fix them without needing an HVAC contractor. Even if you are not comfortable fixing your AC unit on your own, educating yourself about the common problems you might face with your HVAC system is always good.

It also speeds up the repair process when you can correctly articulate your issue with your local HVAC technician.

❌ Power Supply Issues

reset circuit breaker

If you find your central air conditioner fan not spinning, the first thing to check is your HVAC circuit breaker.

There are a few reasons for a tripped circuit breaker, so if you don’t find it, it will continue to trip.

Circuit breakers, by design, are supposed to trip when a fault is detected. If your breaker trips more than once, you have another issue requiring identification.

🧰 The Fix!

The very first thing you should check is your thermostat settings.

You would be surprised at the number of service calls we get only to find out it’s a thermostat setting… Don’t be that homeowner!

Find your electrical panel and check the breaker that’s associated with your air conditioning system.

Breakers can look “on” even after they have tripped. So, fully switch the breaker off and back on again. Be aware that sometimes a circuit breaker can fail without tripping.

Other problems like a frozen evaporator coil or a clogged air filter can cause a circuit breaker to trip, so check those out as well.

Related Reading: Circuit Woes: When Your Electrical Breaker Keeps Tripping

❌ Blocked Air Filter


A clogged air filter is the most common problem that causes AC issues.

This is always the first thing you should check before undertaking any other troubleshooting steps.

A blocked filter will restrict your air conditioner’s air flow, which can cause your evaporator coil to ice up.

🧰 The Fix!

Swap out the air filter if it looks dirty, or you haven’t replaced it in less than 2 months.

We won’t go into too much detail as we have some awesome resources for you to learn more about air filters and their effect on your air conditioner.

A new filter is also good for your indoor air quality.

Feel free to check them out:

Top 5 HVAC Problems Caused by a Dirty Air Filter: Homeowners Guide

Air Filter Guide. MERV Filter Ratings and What They Mean For Homeowners

❌ Malfunctioning Start Capacitor

HVAC tech checking a capacitor

Another common reason for your AC fan not working is a bad capacitor.

A run capacitor stores energy like a quick discharge battery that helps power up your condenser and your AC fan motor when a good jolt of energy is needed.

One symptom of a bad start capacitor is hearing a compressor humming sound while the fan is not spinning.

🧰 The Fix!

The run capacitor is a small cylindrical object with two or three prongs on top and is located within the outdoor unit behind the service panel.

If it’s the capacitor, try using a long wooden stick to give your AC fan a push start.

First, turn on your AC and set it to a lower temperature to ensure the compressor unit will run.

Then using the stick, give the fan blade a push through the fan grate.

If the fan starts up, it was the bad capacitor causing the issue. If the fan doesn’t start, the problem is somewhere else.

If you need to replace your capacitor, you can follow our DIY AC Repair guide and replace it yourself.

Or you can call your local HVAC technician to replace it.

❌ Burnt Out Condenser Fan Motor

Condenser fan motor

The condenser fan motor is another key part of your AC unit. Without it, your condenser coils cannot shed enough heat to keep your home cool.

A burnt-out motor is a big problem for your entire system.

It’s a common problem if your AC unit has been running hard to maintain cooler temperatures in your home and you haven’t routinely maintained your AC unit.

🧰 The Fix!

A bad fan motor is a tough job for the average DIYer. 

Call your local HVAC professional to properly diagnose the issue if you suspect your fan motors or the motor bearings.

❌ A Broken Belt

An AC condenser fan belt and pulley

Most modern AC units use a direct drive fan motor.

Older units may still use a belt system to drive the fan.

Belts are notorious for degrading over time due to weather conditions, dirt, dust, etc.

If your belt has gone bad, it will make unusual noises like squeaking from slippage.

If the belt has stretched, then it could just have slipped off.

🧰 The Fix!

Replace the belt!

Your entire unit is probably pretty old if you still have a belt-driven fan.

If you are on a first-name basis with your local HVAC technicians, it’s probably time for a unit replacement.

❌ Bad Contactor

Phyxter HVAC Tech installing a new contactor

Your AC contactor is responsible for controlling the flow of electrical currents within HVAC systems.

This small device often burns out due to normal wear and tear or if your AC overheats.

If your contactor burns out, it will restrict the flow of electricity to the other components, causing a malfunction.

Bad contactors can become stuck in the open or closed positions. This means that if open, no other components will receive electricity.

If it’s stuck in the closed position, subsystems in your AC will continue to power up even after the cooling cycle has ended.

🧰 The Fix!

A bad contactor is best left to your local HVAC technician.

Testing the contactor risks electrocution, so if you are uncomfortable testing, leave it to the experts.

If you fancy yourself as a DIYer, check out our DIY AC Repair Guide for instructions on checking and replacing a failed contactor.

⭐ AC Fan Not Working? Call in the Professionals

Phyxter Approved Logo on Service Truck

If you are having issues with your AC fan and can’t figure out the problem, it’s best to call in an experienced HVAC technician.

A good maintenance schedule can avoid many of the problems listed above. Spending a little bit of extra time ensuring your AC is in good working order can pay dividends in the long run.

 If you live in the Okanagan region, then Phyxter Home Services are the pros to call for all of your HVAC services. We pride ourselves on providing friendly and affordable AC services.

Don’t let the heat and humidity ruin your summer this year; give us a call!

Dealing with other common AC problems? Check out:

Russell Jones

Russell, a native Australian and VP of Operations at Phyxter Home Services, is also part-owner of Vernon Air Conditioning, Plumbing, and Electrical Services. When he's not busy with work projects and renovations, Russell enjoys putting his vast knowledge of home improvement to good use by sharing his tips and tricks.

About our blog

Phyxter (pronounced Fix-ter) is a national home services brand specializing in Residential HVAC, Electrical and Plumbing solutions.

Phyxter is laser-focused on writing the best articles and guides to empower homeowners to get the best out of their homes.

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