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Outside AC Unit Not Working: Why And How To Fix It?

Outside AC Unit Not Working: Why And How To Fix It?

Certain air conditioners, like mini-split systems, are equipped with outdoor units responsible for converting warm air into cool, indoor air. However, these exterior components might encounter malfunctions. The reasons for these issues can be varied, and we have researched them for you to provide the following explanation.

These outdoor AC units, also known as condensers, can experience breakdowns due to several factors, including:

  1. Fan Motor Failure
  2. Insufficient Power
  3. Accumulated Dirt
  4. Faulty Capacitor

By understanding the root cause, AC owners can apply the appropriate solutions to restore the functionality of their units. Below, we delve deeper into the details of air conditioner condensers and the reasons behind their failure. Additionally, we offer potential remedies for these problems.

What Is The Name Of The Part Of Air Conditioners Installed Outside?

The outdoor component of an air conditioning system is called the condenser. Its primary function involves converting warm outdoor air into cold indoor air. Noteworthy parts within the condenser include the compressor, condenser coil, evaporator, fan, and expansion valve.

Why Is My Exterior Condenser Inoperative?+`

The reasons behind an outside air conditioner condenser ceasing to function can vary among different owners. Some common causes of condenser breakdowns are:

Outside AC Unit Not Working: Why And How To Fix It?
  1. Fan Motor Failure: Stress or aging can lead to the breakdown of the condenser fan motor. Replacing this part instead of attempting repairs is advisable to avoid further damage to the system.
  2. Insufficient Power: Air conditioners require adequate power from the main supply to operate efficiently. Inadequate power supply may lead to an inoperative condenser.
  3. Dirt Buildup: Outdoor condensers are prone to collecting dust and debris. Regular cleaning, at least twice a year, is recommended, and using condenser covers can help reduce dirt buildup.
  4. Faulty Capacitor: The capacitor, functioning similarly to a battery, stores energy from the power supply to provide electricity to the fans. A broken or malfunctioning capacitor is a common reason for condenser failure, and it can result from factors like heat, physical damage, or dirt accumulation.

What To Do When Your Outdoor AC Unit Stops Working?

Outside AC Unit Not Working: Why And How To Fix It?

Seeking professional AC repair services is usually the best course of action for challenging condenser repair or replacement tasks. However, property owners can attempt troubleshooting their exterior units to save on professional labor costs.

Here are some steps to try when dealing with a malfunctioning outdoor AC unit:

  1. Verify the AC switch is in the ‘on’ position, as some units may have an emergency shut-off switch that could hinder condenser functionality.
  2. Check the circuit breaker panel, as a blown fuse from a recent thunderstorm or power surge could interrupt the AC’s operation.
  3. Ensure the thermostat is set to the ‘cool’ mode, as the condenser should function correctly in this mode.

If these troubleshooting steps do not restore power to the appliance, proceed with DIY repairs, making sure the method aligns with the problem’s source.

How To Replace An Air Condenser Fan Motor?

Outside AC Unit Not Working: Why And How To Fix It?

Before attempting to replace the AC condenser’s fan motor, consult your owner’s manual, as different AC models might use varying fans. Confirm if the fan motor is the cause of the breakdown by using a multimeter to test electricity flow to the fan. If the motor requires replacement, ensure that the new fan motor matches the model of the air condenser to avoid compatibility issues.

Here are the steps to replace an air condenser fan motor in a central AC:

  1. Remove the fuses from the disconnect box to disable power to the condenser unit.
  2. Unscrew and remove the access panel.
  3. Verify that the capacitor has no charge and carefully remove it.
  4. Unscrew the fan guard securing the fan and motor to the condenser frame.
  5. Take a picture of the fan orientation for reference during installation.
  6. Loosen the screw on the fan with an adjustable wrench and pull the fan blade away from its frame.
  7. Unscrew and remove the fan motor from the fan guard.
  8. Disconnect the wires from the old fan motor.
  9. Install the new fan motor by following the previous steps in reverse order.
  10. Restore power to the air conditioner and test for any remaining issues.

How To Replace An AC Circuit Breaker?

Working with circuit breaker panels involves live electricity, so exercise caution and ensure you possess the necessary confidence, knowledge, and skill to complete the task safely. If you choose to proceed, wear safety equipment and identify the switch connected to your air conditioner, avoiding interference with other fuses.

Once you have identified the faulty switch, note its exact make and model and purchase the same unit. Mixing switches in your fuse box can result in uneven power delivery.

Here is a step-by-step guide to replacing an AC circuit breaker:

  1. Turn off the main power from the breaker panel and remove the covering.
  2. Apply adequate pressure to the top of the old switch to release it from its lock and pull it from the circuit breaker panel.
  3. Unscrew or loosen the screw on the switch.
  4. Disconnect the wires from the old switch.
  5. Connect the wires to the new switch and install it in the breaker panel.
  6. Return the cover to the panel and restore power to the mains.
  7. Test the air conditioner to ensure the condenser functions as intended.

If a thunderstorm affected the AC’s circuit breaker switch, there is a possibility of other deteriorated areas in the panel due to power surges. In such cases, the steps above may offer only a temporary solution, and replacing the entire panel might be a better long-term option.

What Is The Cost Of Repairing An AC Condenser?

Air conditioner owners should anticipate costs ranging from $900 to $2,800 for repair or replacement of specific condenser parts. Replacement expenses are typically higher than repair costs. Replacing the entire unit can cost between $1,300 and $4,000.

Final Thoughts

The malfunction or breakdown of outside AC condenser units can stem from various causes, including fan motor failures, inadequate power supply, dirt accumulation, and faulty capacitors. By identifying the underlying issue, appropriate solutions can be applied to restore efficient cooling system functionality.

Outside AC Unit Not Working: Why And How To Fix It?

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Written by HVAC Contributor

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