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Matthew
Matthew, HVAC Technician
Category: HVAC
Satisfied Customers: 2000
Experience:  14 years experience in the HVAC field of service, installation, Manual J & D calculations
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Hello, My air conditioner fan is not working outside, but

Customer Question

Hello,
My air conditioner fan is not working outside, but the inside fan is working. How can I remedy the problem?
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: HVAC
Expert:  Matthew replied 3 years ago.

Matthew :

Hello, My name is XXXXX XXXXX I will do my best to help you today.

Matthew :

Can you tell if the internal compressor of the outdoor unit is running and it is just that the fan on top isn't turning or is nothing running outside? If the compressor was running without the fan on top running the noise would be incredibly loud you couldn't miss it.

Customer:

Nothing is running outside

Matthew :

You either have no high voltage to the outdoor unit, no low voltage to the outdoor unit, or the capacitor is bad inside the unit. If you take the panel off the outdoor unit where the wires run into it see if you can find the contacts and see if the plunger is pulled down. I'll send a picture of what i'm talking about.

Customer:

Thank you for the quick response. It is very hot 91 inside the house.

Matthew :

Full Size Image

Matthew :

Full Size Image

Matthew :

This plunger in the middle will be up and the points not touching down when there is no 24v to them and pulled down with the points touching the metal below when there is 24v to them.

Matthew :

tell me if they are down with teh thermostat calling for cooling.

Customer:

I will look with the flashlight and will be back as sooon as I can. Thanks so much for helping. Hope this works.

Matthew :

This next picture is the capacitor inside the outdoor unit. If the plunger is pulled down then you need to inspect this capacitor and see if it is swollen and bulged up. Make sure you are not touching any wires or parts you are just inspecting visually.

Matthew :

Full Size Image

Matthew :

Full Size Image

Matthew :

Full Size Image

Matthew :

This last picture shows you what a shorted capacitor looks like. The one on the left the top is bulged outward instead of concaved.

Customer:

Hi!

Matthew :

What did you find?

Customer:

The capicitor looks normal. The plunger part looks as if its in the middle.

Matthew :

right, but you have to see if it is pulled in. If you can't tell then take a screw driver and push in on the middle black plastic piece. See if it is already down or it goes down.

Matthew :

Make sure you push on the BLACK PLASTIC part.

Customer:

The plunger is in the middle of the two flat black parts showen in figure 2?

Matthew :

right, you have the 4 gold screws then between 2 of the screws (one top and one button) there is a small little copper piece with a black plastic plunger holding it.

Customer:

That piece is out

Matthew :

This piece with the 2 points and hte black holder is the (contacts) This little plunger goes down when 24v is applied and bridges the button voltage up through to the top part.

Matthew :

okay that means there is no 24v being sent

Matthew :

so

Matthew :

You either have a broken wire from point A. the outdoor unit to point B. the thermostat. or you have a safety\ device like a condensate pump that is tripped. Is your furnace in the basement or attic?

Customer:

When it is pushed in, it starts up.

Matthew :

right

Matthew :

that's good that means there is high voltage so your problem is the outdoor unit isn't getting the signal to come on for whatever reason.

Customer:

The pump is on the main floor

Matthew :

We can eliminate the thermostat as a possible cause by taking the wire going to Y on the thermostat and placing it under R with the wire already there. If the thermostat is malfunctioning then when you do this the outdoor unit would come right on.

Matthew :

Do you have a condensate pump that pushes the water out of the home or does it gravity drain via 3/4" pvc all the way out?

Customer:

a gravity drain

Matthew :

Is there a metal drain pan under the furnace with a float switch on the pan that has wires tied in with the thermostat wires?

Matthew :

Full Size Image
float switch

Matthew :

Full Size Image

Customer:

All I see is a big motor

Customer:

sitting on the floor

Matthew :

k

Customer:

I don't see the float switch

Customer:

also I couldn't push the plunger down outside. It wouldn't get down. It only starts up when it is touched

Matthew :

I would check the thermostat wire going into your outdoor unit. There is 2 colored wires that hook to the unit make sure one of them isn't loose or broken outside this wire gets stepped on and hit with the weed eater a lot and pulled loose.

Matthew :

When you manually push it down it starts up but as soon as you let go it goes off again it will only stay down if there is 24v energizing it to

Customer:

I will check outside again. thanks for waiting

Matthew :

Now it is possible that the contacts are bad they get warn and will not pull the plunger down. Most often though when this happens the contacts will sit there and chatter trying to pull down but dont' stick.

Matthew :

you would need a volt meter to test and see if there is actually 24v at the contacts to know for sure weather it was a bad contact or if there just wasn't 24v present

Customer:

I am not seeing any loose wires. The black plunger...if pushed in, it works. As soon as we let go, it turns off.

Matthew :

you don't have 24v from somewhere. The two wires that come into the outdoor unit tie under wire nuts check these and make sure they are good.

Customer:

k.. checking now. thank you.

Customer:

Wires look ok. Can I place a piece of plastic and tape it to hold it in,, just for the night to cool off?

Customer:

Then I can call for service?

Matthew :

If you do that then when the cooling call is over at the thermostat the indoor blower will go off and the outdoor unit will keep on running this will cause the system freeze up and could potentially cause damage to your outdoor compressor.

Matthew :

did you try putting the wire under Y at the thermostat under the R terminal with the wire already there and see if the outdoor unit comes on?

Customer:

no, I will try that.

Matthew :

try that it could just be a bad thermostat

Customer:

ummm. rc or rh?

Matthew :

doesn't matter they should be bridged together. They have a jumper connecting them right?

Customer:

ah.. yes indeed.

Matthew :

yeah either one.

Customer:

k checking now

Customer:

Its working

Customer:

Outside and inside both kicked on

Matthew :

you've got a thermostat problem

Matthew :

is it old?

Customer:

ok. only 5 yrs

Matthew :

digital?

Customer:

yes

Matthew :

make sure that wire under Y is good and tight. make sure the jumper from RH to RC is good and tight ( if the red wire is under RH and the jumper comes loose from RC the cooling will not work.)

Matthew :

RH=24v for heating call RC=24v for cooling call.

Matthew :

If it still doesn't work then you need a new thermostat.

Customer:

k, I will check

Matthew :

you can leave the Y wire under the R terminal and have cooling but it will stay on until you cut high voltage or take the Y wire out.

Customer:

can I tighten y to the rc for the night

Matthew :

read last sentenced

Customer:

yes. sorry. Thank you

Matthew :

no problem. Just get your home nice and cold then shut if off and go to bed for the night. :)

Customer:

Thank you. What should I do tomorrow?? to fix thi

Customer:

this

Matthew :

or go to home depot now and get a new thermostat

Matthew :

just get a new thermostat and you should be good to go

Matthew :

turn off the high voltage to the furnace when you swap them out

Customer:

Oh, I can purchase this from home depot?

Matthew :

the red wire is the only one that is hot but it is best to turn off power to furnace then change them

Matthew :

yeah and it will be wire for wire you sound like you hvae a gas furnace system so it will just be the 4 wires red, green, yellow, white

Customer:

Thank you so much!!! You are awesome!!! I will have a cooler night now.

Customer:

Thank you again. I am all set. Have a great night

Matthew, HVAC Technician
Category: HVAC
Satisfied Customers: 2000
Experience: 14 years experience in the HVAC field of service, installation, Manual J & D calculations
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Matthew
Matthew
Service tech
2000 Satisfied Customers
14 years experience in the HVAC field of service, installation, Manual J & D calculations