Troubleshooting Common Air Conditioner Blower Problems

Air condition in the window of a blue house.

The air conditioner blower is basically the fan inside of an air conditioning unit that blows air through a cooling coil, which transforms the air into an arctic blast refreshing your home on hot summer days. Clearly, the air conditioner blower is an absolutely indispensable part of an air conditioning unit. Unfortunately, like most fans, it’s also prone to the damage and disrepair that can cause annoying banging and clanging noises, or even worse, fail to produce cold air.

If you’re experiencing any of these types of problems with your air conditioner blower, take a quick look at the troubleshooting guide below. This will give you an idea of what might be at the root of the problem, and how you might be able to solve it.

Problem 1 - The Air Conditioner Blower Won’t Start

The most obvious problem that you can have with your air conditioner blower is when you flip the switch to the air conditioner unit and nothing happens. There's no whir or hum of the fan motor, no gusts of cold air. This is a fairly common problem (especially with older air conditioning units), but fortunately it typically doesn’t indicate a very serious issue, and in most cases can be fixed fairly easily.

Possible Cause - Overheating

A common problem behind an air conditioner blower not starting includes overheating, which keeps the motor from running. Let your air conditioner rest and cool down for a while before trying to turn it on again; if the motor works at that point, overheating is probably the problem. Hitting the overload reset switch is a quick and easy resolution for this.

If this is a recurring issue, you may need to contact a serviceman to take a look at the unit and find out why the overheating is happening.

Possible Cause - Fan Belt Problems

Another reason for the fan not to blow is if the fan belt isn’t working. For instance, the belt might may have shifted out of place, worn thin or become damaged. If this is the problem, you will hear that the fan motor itself is indeed working, but no air will be blown out of the conditioning unit. Fortunately, if this is the case, you can easily remedy the problem by replacing the fan belt.

Problem 2 - Icy Air Conditioner

We all love the cool, fresh air that an air conditioner provides, but no one wants an air conditioner that’s covered with icicles. If you notice that your air conditioner is both not working as efficiently as it used to (particularly if you’re getting very little air flow) and is covered with ice, you can bet that it’s probably a problem with the air conditioner blower.

Possible Cause - Dirty Air Conditioner Blower

The most common root problem underlying a frozen air conditioner is a dirty air conditioner blower that’s clogged and congested with dust and dirt. This happens most often in old units that have not been receiving proper maintenance. Luckily, this is one of the easiest problems to repair. All it takes is opening up the machine, removing the fan unit, and giving it a thorough cleaning. Make sure to check your user’s manual before proceeding, however, because different models need to be cleaned in different ways, and some models can only be cleaned by service people.

Proper care and maintenance will keep your unit in good condition. These troubleshooting tips for your air conditioner blower problems will help too.