Some areas of the country use “Package Units”, but most of the United States uses what are called “Split Systems”.

One malfunction common in either system, is that the “Condenser Fan” motor stops working. If you can hear a humming noise but do not see the fan moving, your fan motor is probably at fault.

This is the fan that moves the air across the “Condenser Coil” in order to cool it off after the system moves the heat from inside your home into that outdoor coil.

Check to see if there is any garbage tangled across the fan blade like a fallen limb. If this is the case, turn the power off at the disconnect and gently remove it if you can do it safely, otherwise call a professional.

The startup capacitor and the fan motor operate together to activate the fan within your air conditioner. If this isn’t the case, the motor and/or capacitor may be malfunctioning. The purpose of this element is to blast power to start the air compressor.

This stops your outdoor air conditioning unit from working. For this, you need to have a service tech come and fix it.


The voltages at the outdoor unit are usually 230 volts and are not to be messed with unless you REALLY REALLY know what you are doing.

Components in your system can hold voltage for a long time even with the power turned off and even trained people are killed every year.

I don’t hear any noise at all

If the compressor isn’t making any noise and the fan isn’t spinning, it’s possible that the device isn’t getting electricity. Check that you don’t have a [Tripped Breaker].

The condenser breakers are usually the large double breakers and are usually above 30 amps if yours are not marked. A [Tripped Breaker] is usually not all the way towards the center like the rest of them are.

If you smell smoke or see sparks, call for help immediately.

My Fan Is Spinning Slowly

Another common issue is when the fan spins slowly. Often, this is a sign of a motor going bad, or a capacitor that has gone bad. You should have a qualified person make a repair.