Why Your AC Condenser Fan Motor Keeps Overheating, Gets Hot, and Stops

condenser fan motor gets hot and stopsThey say you can never really know a person until you see how they react to a broken air conditioner on the hottest day of summer. Okay, it’s actually just me who says that, but I’ve been hoping for a while that it would catch on.

My silly little sayings aside, there’s a lot of truth to this. I’ve seen the coolest, calmest, and most collected homeowners get panicked and flustered about a bum AC. In my line of work, I’ve seen a million bum air conditioners in a million and one hot houses, and I can reassure you about one thing: they can all be fixed. No matter how bad it seems, you should always keep your cool (pun intended) when you’re faced with an air conditioning unit on the fritz.

While there are many potential causes behind an AC that has stopped working, I want to talk about one common issue in particular. Here’s what you should do when your AC condenser fan motor keeps overheating, gets hot, and stops all of a sudden.

What Is a Condenser Fan Motor (and How to Tell If It Is Faulty)

condenser fan motor keeps overheatingThe condenser fan motor is a part of the condensing system in your HVAC that turns the fan blades in order to blow air across the condenser coil. This effectively cools the refrigerant, transforming it from a piping hot gas into a liquid solution. If this component is not working properly, neither is your air conditioner.

So, how do you know if your condenser fan motor is faulty? Well, l first you have to understand that the condenser fan runs at a set temperature that ensures it is safely operating. If the fan motor gets too hot, it can cause the fan to act up and eventually shut off. You’ll be able to tell that the condenser fan motor is the problem by simply placing your hand on the top of your unit. It will be really hot to the touch it the fan isn’t working properly due to the motor overheating.

Why Your AC Condenser Fan Motor Keeps Overheating, Gets Hot, and Stops

Now that you understand what a condenser fan motor is and how to tell if it is what’s causing problems with your AC, let’s talk about the why. I find that sometimes knowing the why behind a problem can make the solution seem a lot more manageable.

There are a few common reasons why a condenser fan motor would overheat to the point that it stops working, such as:

  • Lack of maintenance: This is probably the most common reason that causes condenser fan motors to overheat and shut off. Proper and regular lubrication of the fan motor is necessary for the motor to run smoothly. Periodically making sure that there’s no debris or dust in or around the fan motor is also a good idea. The best way to ensure that your fan motor is properly maintained is to schedule regular HVAC maintenance with your local HVAC expert. They will ensure the motor, as well as the rest of your AC system, is clean, lubricated, and ready to run all summer long.
  • The motor is old: If you don’t know when you last had your condenser fan motor replaced, or you’ve never had it replaced, your motor may be getting old and worn out. If this is the case, you will likely need to have it replaced. It’s a good idea to get an HVAC expert in to make sure this is the case, though, because you don’t want to toss out a perfectly good motor!
  • The motor is the wrong size: If you’ve recently purchased and installed a new condenser fan motor, there is a chance that it could be the wrong size if it’s constantly overheating. If the motor is too small, it will run too hard and then overheat. I see this problem a lot when homeowners try and DIY the replacement of their condenser motor fans. The takeaway: Always call an HVAC pro to ensure you have the right size motor installed in your unit.

Trust an HVAC Pro to Keep You Cool This Summer

As you can probably tell, it’s darn near impossible to say exactly what is happening with your condenser motor fan when it overheats, gets hot, and stops unless you get an HVAC pro, like the friendly folks at Bell Brothers, to come over and have a look. They’ll be able to very quickly tell what the problem is and what needs to be done to fix it. With service like that, your AC will be up and running again before you even break a sweat. In fact, the homeowners who don’t get all up in arms when this happens are almost always the ones that call an HVAC pro right away and save themselves the stress of trying to diagnose AC problems themselves.

there are a bunch of incredible financing programs in California that help make it possible for homeowners to make energy-efficient upgrades to their homes.

If you’ve been having a lot of trouble with your AC and it’s getting up there in age, your HVAC pro may talk to you about replacing your whole system with a new one. If this is the case, the good news is that there are a bunch of incredible financing programs in California that help make it possible for homeowners to make energy-efficient upgrades to their homes. So if you do have to get a new AC, investing in an energy-efficient one will help you qualify for these programs.

While I’d certainly recommend calling a pro when you run into any problem with your AC, whether you’ve got a wet air filter or your AC is blowing hot air, it’s also a good idea to be proactive when it comes to the health of your entire HVAC system. Like I mentioned before, scheduling regular maintenance is the best thing you can do to prevent a major blowout in the peak of summer—for you and your HVAC.

At Bell Brothers, our trained HVAC professionals would love to help you with all your summer HVAC needs. Or, if you are wondering how to finance a new AC unit this summer, we can help you find unique financing options designed to help California homeowners make energy-efficient upgrades. Contact us today to schedule a free in-home consultation.

Image courtesy Elnur