HVAC Repair Tips


Fans are important components of your heat pump. If they fail, the unit won’t push warm air inside your house and, in many cases, they can also stop the heat pump from working at all. There are two fans in heat pumps. One is the condenser fan motor that is inside the outdoor unit and the other is the blower fan motor which is present in the air handler unit. You need the assistance of a heat pump repair expert to fix these fans if they become faulty. Here are the signs and causes of a failing condenser fan motor of a heat pump.

The Role Of A Condenser Fan In Heat Pumps

A condenser unit is the part of your heat pump that is installed outside. It has coils and a fan. These coils are called condenser coils. They have refrigerant in them. In heat mode, the condenser coils draw heat from the air outside, which increases the temperature of the refrigerant that is pushed inside the coils in the air handler unit. This is a heat transfer process and the fan in the condenser unit is used to facilitate the process.

Signs Of A Failing Heat Pump Condenser Fan Motor

No Fan Movement

For many people, it may be an obvious sign that the condenser fan motor is bad, but due to a misconception, many people might think of this as okay.

The misconception is that a condenser fan of a heat pump doesn’t have to run when it’s in heat mode. The truth is that it must run for the condenser coils to effectively absorb heat from the outside air. So, if your heat pump’s condenser fan is not running when it’s cycled on, then the fan motor may be faulty or the fan is blocked.

Obstruction of the fan is common because the condenser unit is placed outside and leaves and debris can block the fan from rotating. Moreover, snow in winter can also block the fan. So, clean the condenser unit and then check again. If the fan doesn’t run after cleaning, the fan motor may be blown. Refer to an expert for the inspection and replacement of the condenser fan motor.

Reduced Heating Capacity

A condenser fan helps in the heat transfer process. When it malfunctions, the heating capacity of your heat pump will decrease. It is a vague sign of a bad condenser fan motor as reduced heating can be due to many different reasons.

Therefore, if you notice less heating, look for other signs mentioned here to pinpoint that the issue is with the condenser fan motor (or the blower fan motor) and not with any other component.

The Condenser Fan Runs Even When The Heat Pump Is Off

When you turn off your heat pump, the fan usually stops rotating within a few seconds. However, if it keeps running for minutes after turning off the unit, the ball bearings of the motor are malfunctioning. You should contact a professional who can check your motor and its ball bearings and repair or replace them.

The Fan Rotates Slowly

A slow-moving condenser fan when it must be spinning at its usual speed is a sign that the motor is failing. As the motor hasn’t failed entirely, the fans are moving slowly and not completely still. This slow movement of the fan is not ideal and as it shows the motor is failing, you should contact an expert.

Moreover, if you sense a burning smell from the outdoor unit along with the slow movement of the fan, turn off the heat pump immediately and call a professional. This also takes us to the next point.

Burning Smell

A burning smell coming from any appliance is alarming. If it’s coming from the outdoor unit, it means the condenser fan motor is going bad. However, it can also be a wire burning in the outdoor unit.

In any case, you must never ignore a burning smell because it means something is burning and the unit can catch fire. Turn off the heat pump and ask an HVAC technician to inspect the unit and replace the condenser fan motor if it’s the problem.

The Fan Run Spasmodically

Firstly, you should know that the condenser fan turns off when the heat pump cycles off. Cycling off means the heat pump reaches the set temperature and turns off for a while. And when the temperature drops again in heat mode, the heat pump cycles on and the fan starts spinning again (along with other components).

However, if you notice that the heat pump is cycled on, but the condenser fan turns off and on consistently, then the motor may be faulty or something is blocking the fans.

To determine if the fan motor is faulty, you have to make sure that the spasmodic functioning of the fan is due to a bad motor. For this, clean the unit. If the problem persists, check the current temperature on the thermostat. Has the heat pump reached it? If it has, the heat pump is cycled off and there is nothing to worry about. However, if the heat pump hasn’t reached the temperature and the condenser fan is off, the fan motor is bad.

You can also perform the same check for the blower fan motor as well if it’s running intermittently.

Rattling Noise Coming From The Outdoor Unit

A rattling or any loud noise other than the usual buzzing sound from the condenser unit means a problem. There are two important parts in a condenser unit. The condenser coils and the fan. If the condenser coils are cracked, they commonly make a hissing sound. However, if the fan blade is damaged or the motor is bad, you may hear a rattling sound.

You should first check the fan blades. They may be hitting the unit’s housing. If they are not and nothing is in the way of the fan blades but you’re hearing a rattling noise, it may very well be the fan motor.

Frequently Tripped Circuit Breaker

If you’re frequently turning on the circuit breaker for the heat pump because it keeps getting tripped, any component of the heat pump is causing it. Most likely, it can be the compressor, the condenser fan motor, or the blower fan motor. Have these components checked.


If the condenser fan doesn’t work, it affects the heating or cooling process of your heat pump. Due to this, the compressor and other parts work overtime to make up for this deficit. So, the heat pump runs for longer which increases your energy bills.

If you haven’t increased your use of electricity and your energy bills are rising, it can be a problem with your heat pump. Can be the fan motor.


In severe cases, a blown fan motor can cause the compressor to go bad as well. This is also because of the reason given above. The compressor works more than usual and due to this, it malfunctions.


The condenser fan and blower fan are important components of your heat pump. The motor’s failure of any of these can cause various problems. You can spot a malfunctioning fan motor with the above-mentioned signs so you can consult a heat pump repair service Arlington on time.


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