Few things are more unnerving than having the air conditioner in your Tampa, Florida home falter or fail. After all, not only does your cooling system keep your living environment at a reasonable temperature, but it also regulates indoor humidity. Life without it can be downright miserable. Fortunately, licensed HVAC technicians can identify and resolve even the most serious air conditioner issues. For instance, if your air conditioner’s motor has failed, they can find out why and put a new one in. Following is everything that you need to know about AC motor failure and replacement.
AC Motor Replacement Always Starts With Accurate Diagnosis
When the signs of AC motor problems manifest, HVAC technicians use cutting-edge tools to both diagnose them and identify their causes. This way, if motor failure isn’t the result of normal aging, homeowners can take preventative steps to keep motor issues from recurring.
There are three different motors within a modern cooling system. These are the:
- Compressor motor
- Condenser fan motor
- Blower motor
Thus, HVAC technicians must determine which motor or motors are out.
Once the nature and cause of the problem are known, your cooling technician will tell you whether or not replacing the motor is the best choice. It is not uncommon for aging air conditioners to need motor replacements. However, if your air conditioner is nearing the end of its life span or if it’s needed multiple cooling repair services within the recent past, replacing the entire cooling system could be the most cost-effective solution.
Different AC Motor Types
The replacement process for AC motors depends upon which motor goes out and how long you continued to run your air conditioner after motor failure occurred. Running air conditioners with damaged condenser fan motors or compressor motors can lead to overheating. When moving parts get too hot, they’ll invariably stop working. As long as you catch and correct a broken AC motor within a reasonable amount of time, your system’s compressor and its other major components should be fine.
For all motor replacements, your HVAC technician will refer to the recommendations of your equipment manufacturer. Replacement motors will have the same specifications as the unit’s original motors. More importantly, the installation techniques used during this process will ensure seamless integration of new parts, optimum efficiency, and reliable performance.
Compressor Motor Replacements
Compressor motors are actually two motors in one. Every compressor motor has a start motor and a run motor. These two motors are connected at the common wire terminal and sealed in a protective housing. Determining whether they have failed is a challenging task given that they cannot be seen. Moreover, compressors have a built-in safety switch that automatically turns them off whenever the compressor starts overheating. Once this switch is engaged, testing the motor’s terminals for acceptable resistance sums isn’t possible.
HVAC technicians must first determine the cause of the shutdown to deactivate the safety switch. After this is accomplished, they can determine whether the run or start motor has failed, or whether the entire compressor needs replacing. Fortunately, in most cases, compressors themselves should last throughout the entirety of an air conditioner’s life span.
Condenser Fan Motors
AC condenser fan motor failure can cause:
- Significant increases in your home energy bills
- The distribution of warm air throughout the home
- Longer cooling times
- Loud buzzing sounds coming from within the AC unit
When the condenser fan motor fails, heat will continue to build up in the AC compressor until the compressor motor is overwhelmed and the compressor overheats and stops working. Unfortunately, many homeowners don’t immediately associate longer cooling times or increased energy costs with motor failure. Due to this fact, they don’t always schedule timely repairs.
Blower Fan Motors
Much like their name implies, blower fan motors help with air distribution. When these units break down, cold air is often still being produced by AC systems, but it isn’t being moved throughout the home. You might hear your air conditioner running, but you won’t feel steady airflow from your HVAC air vents and your preferred indoor temperature will never be reached.
Every AC Model Is Unique
Every air conditioner model is unique. There’s also the fact AC motor types, sizes, and locations have changed significantly throughout the years. Older air conditioners have slightly different compressor, condenser fan, and blower motors from brand-new cooling systems. Thus, there’s no single motor replacement method that’s guaranteed to work across all residential AC systems.
Your AC Motor Might Not Need Replacing at All
In some instances, motor replacement isn’t absolutely necessary. Instead, the problem lies with the air conditioner’s capacitor. This unit provides the initial jolt of electricity that AC motors need for successful operation. If the AC capacitor’s broken, you’ll pay less to replace it than you would for an AC motor replacement, and your system will be back up and running in no time.
Why It’s Never a Good Idea to Attempt This Repair on Your Own
It’s easy for consumers to misdiagnose motor failure. For instance, replacing an AC motor when you have a failed capacitor will result in unnecessary spending. More importantly, it’s unlikely to resolve your problem.
However, the biggest reason to avoid do-it-yourself (DIY) air conditioner repairs is the fact that you’ll instantly void your air conditioner warranty. Worse still, DIY repairs will also void any protections provided by your home warranty and your home insurance plan.
Although there are certain maintenance and troubleshooting tasks that homeowners are perfectly capable of handling on their own, any projects that require consumers to tamper with moving parts should be avoided. Many product warranties are voided as soon as consumers touch their AC motors by removing their covers. Even if you’re able to successfully replace this component, once you do, you’ll have to pay for all formerly covered AC repairs out of your own pocket.
There’s also the fact that these complex projects require an in-depth knowledge of electrical wiring. If your new motor isn’t put in correctly, you and everyone else on the property may be at risk of electrocution or fire. Finally, an improperly installed AC motor can damage your air conditioner’s compressor and other costly components. This will turn a project that initially cost just hundreds of dollars into a repair that will cost you thousands.
What Will Happen If You Don’t Replace the AC Motor?
Having an AC motor go out doesn’t mean that your cooling system won’t work at all. In most cases, air conditioners will continue operating, but they’ll be increasingly noisy and far less effective and efficient. For example, the air conditioner’s fan blades might turn, but their rotations will be much slower.
Letting your air conditioner run for any extended period of time after you’ve noticed motor problems will eventually result in total system failure. This is true whether the condenser fan, compressor, or blower motor has failed. Thus, as soon as you suspect motor issues, turn your air conditioner off completely and schedule service right away. You can use standing fans, ceiling fans, and other short-term strategies to stay cool until help arrives.
At Protek Roofing, Heating, Air & Solar, we’re committed to helping residents of Tampa, Florida save money and make informed decisions. Our HVAC technicians carefully explain the problems that our clients’ heating and cooling equipment is experiencing. We also share all of the repair and replacement options that are available. Our clients can count on us for fast and effective AC motor replacements. We also provide roofing services, storm damage repairs, and solar installation. If you’ve got a broken AC motor on your hands, we can help.