outside ac unit

Why Is Your Outside AC Unit Fan Not Running But Inside Is

Is your air conditioner unit giving you trouble? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Many homeowners experience problems with their HVAC units and call us for assistance. 

If you find yourself in the sweltering heat with your outside AC unit not running, but the inside part is, we understand it can be frustrating. Fortunately, it’s possible to fix it! Here at Clover Contracting, we want to help you find the best solution for your home cooling and plumbing needs. 

Here’s our guide to help you troubleshoot this issue. 

Outside AC Unit Fan Not Running But Inside Is: Potential Causes

There could be many reasons for this puzzling issue, from incorrect thermostat settings and mechanical issues like a bad capacitor to low refrigerant levels, lack of power supply or a dirty compressor unit. 

Let’s look at some potential causes: 

Incorrect thermostat settings

If your outside AC unit fan is not running, but the inside is working, an improper setting on your thermostat could be the culprit. For example, if you accidentally select “fan only” mode by mistake, the inside air will continue to move around, but the exterior unit won’t help cool the air down.

So, if your outside AC unit is malfunctioning, first check its thermostat settings. Switching it back to “cool” could resolve many of its issues and restart its fan again. 

A small switch on a device can cause significant problems, so eliminate those factors first before looking for bigger issues!

Mechanical issues (capacitor and contactor failure)

Bad capacitors and contactors may prevent your outside AC unit fan from functioning. A capacitor stores energy to start up the fan; however, if its integrity is compromised, it may no longer produce enough power to do so.

You need a functional start capacitor for your fan to work again. Contactors regulate how much electricity reaches its destination – should this part become damaged, your outdoor fan could stop moving altogether.

Low refrigerant levels

If your outside AC unit is not running, low refrigerant levels could be to blame. Your cooling system needs a certain amount of refrigerant in order to cool your home. 

Your AC unit uses the refrigerant to remove heat from the inside of your house and dispel it outside with the outside fan. When there isn’t enough refrigerant in its system, it can get confused and stop spinning properly, causing its external fan to stop functioning as intended.

Lack of power supply

Your outdoor AC unit fan requires electricity to work. Sometimes, this power may become temporarily or permanently cut off for various reasons, such as wiring issues, power cuts, or even tripped breakers.

While the indoor unit may continue to run on a battery backup or a reduced voltage, it could cause your outdoor unit to stop spinning. If there’s no power outage, other appliances are still functioning as usual, and your unit hasn’t shut off, there may be an issue in its electrical system that needs addressing.

Dirty outside compressor unit

Dirt and dust can stop your AC unit’s fan from working. This messy stuff gets stuck on the motor or even jammed in the fan axle. 

The outside part of your AC system may pick up all kinds of dirt, including sticks and leaves, which can get caught in its components. When this happens, the fan won’t spin correctly.

Troubleshooting Steps for Outside AC Unit Not Running

If your outdoor AC fan is causing issues or your condenser is not turning on, here are some steps to troubleshoot them and get them back up and running. Of course, if you’re in doubt or facing serious issues with any of these technical steps, reach out to us for professional assistance.

Note: If your outside heat unit is not running, but the inside one is, you can also try these same troubleshooting steps. 

Checking and resetting your thermostat

As noted, incorrect thermostat settings can prevent your outside unit fan from operating correctly. Fortunately, it’s a quick fix! Check that your system isn’t set to “fan only”, as this mode only uses your interior unit for air movement instead of turning on your outdoor AC unit. Simply switch it back to “cool” mode. 

If you’re still having issues, try resetting your thermostat. Shut off your air conditioning’s main power switch, wait a few minutes, and turn it back on. After, reset your thermostat settings for cooling.

If you’re still having trouble, make sure your thermostat has working batteries. If that doesn’t work, give Clover Contracting a call. 

Cleaning the outside compressor unit

First, unplug your unit. Next, use a garden hose to wash away dirt from its outdoor compressor unit, being careful to spray gently so as not to bend or damage any of its internal parts. Remove and clean any dust or gunk stuck onto fan axles/motor parts as well.

Safety note: Try not to touch any electrical components when cleaning with water!

Before reassembling your unit and plugging it back in, make sure all the components are fully dry. 

Call a professional for assistance

If your outside AC unit fan is not running, get help from a pro. Technicians are trained to fix these systems and will know how to check for power supply issues, bad capacitors and faulty contactors.

If you think your blower is not spinning due to excess stress or motor burnout, let a professional handle it. Fixing an AC unit can be tricky and incredibly risky if you’re not trained to do it.

Let Clover Contracting help troubleshoot your system. 

If your outside AC unit fan is not running, but the inside one is, it’s likely a sign of an underlying problem. Don’t wait – contact the professionals at Clover Contracting today! 

Our team of experienced technicians is available 24/7 and guarantees fast, reliable service that will get your AC system back up and running in no time. 

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