Outside AC not working

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  #1  
Old 07-11-13, 02:16 PM
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Outside AC not working

I turned the air conditioner for the first time and it was working fine. I left for a few hours and when I got back it was blowing warm air. The outside fan was not running and the unit was hot. Now it does not come on at all. I tested the contactor the compressor hums for a few seconds then stops. The fan does not come on at all. I know I probably need a fan motor, but I want to know if the compressor is working before I buy a fan. How can I go about testing it? Thank you in advance for any advice.
 
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Old 07-11-13, 02:32 PM
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With any luck, it's just the capacitor that needs replacing and not the fan motor itself. One test you can do is what's referred to as the "stick test". That is where you use a pencil or something that is long & thin enough to poke through the fan grill. When the compressor starts up, try to give the fan a "nudge" in the direction that it normally turns. If the fan runs, then it's likely the capacitor and not the fan motor itself.

The compressor/condensor fan does two things. It cools the condensor coil, but it also helps cool the compressor. Without the fan running, the compressor will likely overheat and shut itself down via the thermal cutout (protects the motor from overheating).

I would suggest that you let the outdoor unit cool for several hours, then set the thermostat for cooling. With any luck, the compressor will turn on and you can do the stick test. If it passes the stick test, then you likely just need to replace the capacitor, which is much less expensive than a new motor.
 
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Old 07-11-13, 03:00 PM
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This actually happened a few days ago. I tried the stick test. The fan is going now but the compressor is still humming for a second or two then stopping. It seems like it just cannot get going. The air blowing is still warm.
 
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Old 07-11-13, 04:58 PM
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It's hard to say exactly what the problem might be. However, you may want to "gamble" and replace the capacitors and see if that solves the problem. It should get the condensor fan going again and just may solve the compressor problem, since many compressors also use a start capacitor. It's relatively inexpensive to replace them (MUCH less than the cost of a new compressor and installation).
 
 

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