How to Replace an Air Conditioner Fan Motor

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Updated August 19, 2022

Each element of a central air conditioning unit comprises many parts that require different levels of care. And although the best air conditioners can last up to two decades, sometimes specific parts need to be replaced. We’re here to show you how to replace an air conditioner condenser fan motor.

KEY TAKEAWAYS:

  • The condenser is essential for any air conditioner because it regulates the refrigerant.
  • If your condenser unit’s fan motor breaks, you can buy the parts and replace it yourself.
  • Fan motor replacement requires a basic understanding of electrical components, but with the proper research can be completed as a DIY routine maintenance measure.

While you’re at it, you may want to read up on repairing an air conditioner condenser or check out our article offering advice on replacing a heat pump with an air conditioner and repairing an air conditioner fan motor.

Replacing an Air Conditioner Condenser Fan Motor

The condenser unit is one of the essential components of any air conditioner. The condenser is a set of cooling copper coils that regulate the refrigerant and ensure the air is at the proper temperature. And once the air is brought to the right temperature, the fan motor circulates it through the vent and into the house.

Insider Tip

It’s always a great idea to replace the AC’s capacitor every time you replace the fan motor. Replacing the capacitor makes the new motor last longer.

The condenser unit is one of the essential components of any air conditioner. The condenser is a set of cooling copper coils that regulate the refrigerant and ensure the air is at the proper temperature. And once the air is brought to the right temperature, the fan motor circulates it through the vent and into the house.

When something goes wrong, the unit will typically show an error code. For example, when you see the E4 error code on an air conditioner, the unit is going into defrost mode. However, if your condenser fan is having issues, you may not see this kind of notification.

STEP 1 Turn Off the Entire Unit

  1. If you have a central air system, turn the AC off at the thermostat inside and then again at the electrical disconnect box located next to the outdoor unit. If your outdoor unit doesn’t have one, read up on how to wire a disconnect box for an air conditioner because this is an important safety device.
  2. For window or portable units, simply unplug them.

STEP 2 Remove the Cover and Top

  1. Unscrew the cover door or front panel to access the wires inside the AC unit.
  2. On outdoor units, remove the top of the AC unit to expose the fan. Typically, this requires a wrench to loosen four bolts on top and the other screws on the side for most units.
  3. Disconnect or cut the wires connected to the fan motor and place the fan, bottom side up, on the ground.

STEP 3 Remove the Fan Blade and Motor

  1. Loosen the set screw that connects the fan blade to the shaft with a wrench.
  2. Take the blade off once the screw is removed and set it aside.
  3. Then, remove the screws on the top of the fan cover. Now, you should be able to take off the old AC fan motor.

STEP 4 Put on the New Motor

  1. Put the wires for the new motor through the wire sleeve.
  2. Place the new motor onto the fan cover so that the screws stick through the top. Then lightly tighten the top screws so the motor stays in place.
  3. Replace the fan blade on the shaft. Place it below the setscrew line that should be found about halfway down the shaft. Make sure the set screw is placed on one of the flat edges of the shaft.
  4. Tighten the set screw with your wrench.

STEP 5 Remove the Old Wires

  1. Put the top cover back on the condenser, and route the new wires through the same path as the old wires.
  2. Go to the electrical section, find the old wires, and disconnect them. As you do this, replace each old wire with the new one.

STEP 6 Fasten the top Cover and Check the Fan Blade

  1. Put the top cover on to sit flush on top, so all the side holes are accessible.
  2. After the top is correctly positioned, give the fan blade a spin by pushing the blade. As you do this, look to make sure that there is plenty of space between where the fan is spinning and your new wires. Use zip ties to fasten the wires further away from the blade if it’s too close.
  3. Tighten the top screws and replace all side screws/clips on the top cover.
  4. Reattach the electrical cover.

STEP 7 Test the New Motor

  1. Power on the AC unit and check to ensure that the new condenser fan motor is running correctly.

Warning

Before working on the AC fan motor, use a voltmeter to check and ensure there’s no power to the wires. Otherwise, you can get shocked.

F.A.Q.S

What is the average cost of replacing a condenser fan motor?

The average price of the part is around $300 to $500.


How long do condenser coils last?

An evaporator coil lasts, on average, about 10 to 20 years.


What causes a condenser coil to leak?

AC condenser leaks are often caused by ruptured condenser tubes or rotten seals.


STAT: The typical lifespan of a centralized AC unit is around 15-17 years. (source)

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