Newbie needs some AC help, fan turning with kick start


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Old 04-20-09, 10:06 PM
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Newbie needs some AC help, fan turning with kick start

I bought a house that's about 9 years old with a set of Lennox "Value Series" AC units. I have 3 of them and 2 of them work fine. The 3rd one wouldn't turn and didn't make any noise, so I opened what looks like a breaker box, found this thing that was "off" and flipped it over, plugged it in and then it showed "on". Power is now getting to the unit as I can hear it hum, but no fan movement. I read somewhere that you need to give it a bit of a jumpstart, so I took a hose to the fan and got it to spin, yes! Then I compared it to one of the working units and realized it was spinning the wrong way. I then tried a kitchen knife to rotate it the other way, and that worked! But it's still not blowing cold.

I went outside just now and the fan isn't spinning, but the top of the unit feels a bit hot (and the sun has been down for several hours), and the other units don't feel hot.

Any ideas what's going on, or do I need to spend money on a tech

Thanks for any tips!
 
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Old 04-21-09, 07:16 AM
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Turn off the power...don't try and run it, you could cause heavy damage.

No AC pro, but it sound like you have a bad starting capacitor (black or silver can, round or oval) and possibly a bad fan motor. Since you said it wasn't blowing cold even after the fan started, it could be that the cap handles both the compressor and the fan (dual cap).

If you feel comfortable working with electricity and have the basic tools required, you may be able to fix it yourself, if its only an electrical problem.

First you will need to remove whatever panel necessary to gain access to the guts and be able to see the wiring. You may have to remove the top panel where the fan is mounted to see inside. Ensure power is off!!

Look for a small can with wires attached to it...normally held in some sort of clamp or bracket. Visually check for oil leakage or bulging of the top or sides.

If you don't feel comfortable doing this, you need to schedule a service call.
 
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Old 04-21-09, 07:52 AM
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The fact that the disconnect to the third unit was in the "off" position when you moved in seems to indicate that the former owner must have had some problems with that A/C unit and turned the disconnect to "off". Did you have a home inspection done before you bought the house, or was there any sort of warranty on the house? It sounds like this was a pre-existing condition that should have been addressed prior to sale.
 
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Old 04-21-09, 07:56 AM
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Good point about the disconnect...
Was it actually "OFF", or was it simply tripped and you re-set it (turn full off, then on)?
 
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Old 04-21-09, 09:18 AM
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Originally Posted by Gunguy45
Good point about the disconnect...
Was it actually "OFF", or was it simply tripped and you re-set it (turn full off, then on)?
Yes, the house has a warranty, but to use it it costs me $60. Not alot but it takes time to schedule, it's hot, and i'd rather fix it myself if it's a simple thing...like starting the fan myself, or just hosing it off, or reconnecting some wires.

There's a box on the wall, that looks like a breaker. There's a thing with a handle on it that pulls out (completely). You can flip it and plug it back in, so it's in the off or on position. When it first didn't spin nor made any noise, it was in the off position. Not sure why the inspector didn't notice this as I certainly didn't switch it off. This isn't a regular electrical breaker that flips by itself. Since you have to pull it out completely and turn it, I can't see how it would trip itself.
 
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Old 04-21-09, 10:11 AM
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It is a non-fused disconnect, someone turned it off for a reason, more then likely a service tech. If you have a meter and know how to use it we can walk you through trouble shooting...........if not, time to use that warranty.

As BB said sounds like an existing condition, to bad it wasn't caught at the inspection
 
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Old 04-21-09, 10:32 AM
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If I yank that thing out, does that mean the unit is safe to work on, or is there any charge in there?

Also, what kind of meter do I need? Just something to read voltage?

also i have another somewhat related question. When I first spun the fan, I pushed it the wrong way, but once it got going, it kept spinning, again, the wrong way. Is that normal?




Originally Posted by dun11
It is a non-fused disconnect, someone turned it off for a reason, more then likely a service tech. If you have a meter and know how to use it we can walk you through trouble shooting...........if not, time to use that warranty.

As BB said sounds like an existing condition, to bad it wasn't caught at the inspection
 
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Old 04-21-09, 10:49 AM
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Yes, if you pull the disconnect it is safe to work on, however, you won't be able to take any voltage or amp readings since there won't be power to it. I would recommend a multi-meter,
one that reads volts, amps, ohms, mfd, etc.
The first thing I would check would be the capacitor, is it swollen or leaking ? The fan spun the wrong way because you pushed it the wrong way.
 
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Old 04-21-09, 10:52 AM
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Originally Posted by dun11
The fan spun the wrong way because you pushed it the wrong way.
well yes, duh but I didn't expect it to keep spinning in that direction.

Let me see if I have the tools, and I'll try to snap some pics. It'll be later on today. Thanks for your help!
 
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Old 04-21-09, 10:59 AM
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well yes, duh but I didn't expect it to keep spinning in that direction.
the fan is more then likely reversable, it doesn't know which way its mounted or supposed to spin (just like you didn't) you can wire them for clockwise or counter clockwise rotation
 
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Old 04-21-09, 12:37 PM
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I went to go try it again. I'm pretty sure it's more than just the fan. For the other unit, the fan spins much faster and it's alot louder (not just the fan, the entire unit).

Any last things to try before I exercise my warranty?
 
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Old 04-21-09, 12:46 PM
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The parts alone if its the fan motor and cap will cost more than $60. And that may not be the whole problem.

Make the call, and stay in the cooler parts of the house.
 
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Old 04-21-09, 12:50 PM
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yup, already placed a service call. I'll followup with what he actually fixed.
 
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Old 04-24-09, 11:42 AM
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I was out of town when the repair guy came, but here's what I can read of the invoice:

Replaced 1 Dual Capacitor
50 + 5 MFD 370 Voll.

$60 home warranty service deductible

Any idea what one of those costs along with service call?
 
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Old 04-24-09, 11:59 AM
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The part itself is about $10.00
 
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Old 04-24-09, 01:24 PM
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But depending on where you are..the service call could easily be $85, and what if it hadn't been just the cap? And now if it quits in a week, the next call should be free if related to the first problem.

Dun quoted $10..but when I had to replace mine, they didn't have an exact replacement, I had to get one that could be jumpered for what I needed and it was close to $30 retail IIRC. Seems like I heard somewhere that thats what a lot of techs carry on the truck, so they can cover all the bases.
 
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Old 04-24-09, 01:26 PM
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cool, in any case it's fixed and i'm ready for summer

oh and one of the service companies I called quoted me $95 just to come out.
 
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Old 04-26-09, 05:47 AM
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can't get top off

First post here...hope I am in the right place.
I have an ele heat pump for my AC. I was constantly having to hit the reset button to keep it on. Found out the fan blades were not turning so I jumped them with a paint stick...not sure if right direction or not. Then I smelled ele burn smell and shut it off quick. Upon looking down inside blades again I saw a fire ant mound at the bottom and assuming that is the problem tried to get the top off to exterminate those suckers. All the screws are rusted and even after letting WD40 sit, I am having no luck. HELP please!
 
 

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