Heat Pump Troubleshooting: Heat Pump Outside Fan Not Running

image of a heat pump fan depicting outside heat pump fan not working

Many households are switching to heat pumps. These versatile machines can provide heating and cooling in a compact package, all while consuming energy efficiently. If you are among the converts, be sure to keep up with the maintenance schedule to prevent problems and prolong service life. If you notice anything odd, don’t ignore it. Call your HVAC contractor to schedule HVAC services. For example, you may notice that the heat pump outside fan not running. Read on to learn more about this common heat pump issue.

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When Should the Fan Run on My Heat Pump?

Heat pumps have two interconnected units. One stays outside the house, while the other is sheltered indoors. If the indoor unit is not blowing air, you might want to visit the outdoor unit for clues. After all, they work in tandem. The outdoor fan should keep spinning while the system is trying to achieve the thermostat settings. It should stop once the goal has been reached. If the fan refuses to move, the home won’t be able to get the conditioned air it needs.

Why Is My Heat Pump Fan Not Spinning When the Unit Is On?

image of an hvac contractor performing a heat pump fan repair

The system can’t function correctly without a cooperative fan. It’s a problem with multiple triggers. One possible reason is that debris got inside the unit and clogged it up. The blades cannot move because of physical obstacles. Outdoor units are vulnerable to dirt and debris due to their location. You can reduce the risk by keeping the perimeter clean and clear. Cut vegetation around it, remove dry leaves from the top, and dislodge anything stuck in the fan. Remember to turn off the power before making a move, and use a stick or similar tools. Never poke with your fingers.

Should My Heat Pump’s Outdoor Unit Run During Cold Weather?

Heat pumps and air conditioners work using the same principles. The difference is that the former can provide both heating and cooling, so you can use them throughout the year. Air conditioners take centerstage when it’s hot, whereas heat pumps run even during cold weather. The fan of the outdoor unit should keep spinning as part of its normal operations. It could also spin during the defrost cycle. If the fan refuses to move at all, you have a problem.

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Related Article: Why Is My Heat Pump Blowing Hot Air In Cool Mode?

Is It Normal for the Heat Pump Fan to Keep Spinning?

Heat pump versatility has its limits. Although it can provide heating in cold weather, it can only cope with mild winters. As the temperature drops closer to zero, it starts to struggle with the heating load. It may try to compensate by working harder and longer. The fan will run continuously as the system attempts to reach the thermostat settings. It should stop once you enter a lower temperature goal. If it doesn’t respond, perhaps you have a blower malfunction. Ask a technician to handle the matter.

Common Problems That Cause Heat Pump Fan Issues

In any machine, moving parts are always prone to wear and tear. You need to keep an eye on your heat pump fan because it is a leading indicator of underlying problems. Some of these are straightforward, while others require a deeper dive.

Debris Causing an Obstruction

image of ductless heat pump compressor ventilation fan

If your outdoor fan is acting up, the usual suspect is debris in the unit. Check for this before you do anything else. A visual inspection may reveal twigs, nests, or pests around the blades. Turn off the power before making a move as a safety precaution. Remove the offending objects and restart the system. If the situation does not get better, more advanced troubleshooting will be necessary.

Problem 1: Sticky Fan Motor

Perhaps the motor is going bad, but the capacitor is still fine. You may force the fan to spin by giving it a push. Use a stick to move the fan blades until the fan motor kicks in. Just remember that this is a temporary solution. If the motor is failing, you will eventually need to replace it. Get a professional for the repairs.

Problem 2: Dead Fan

Sometimes nudging the fan doesn’t help. Perhaps the motor or capacitor is busted. A technician can determine which of these parts to replace for a guaranteed solution. Call one right away. Wait until things are back to normal before you turn the heat pump on. Don’t let the system run without a functioning fan because this might result in an overheating compressor. If the compressor fails, your repair bills will only get higher. Limit the damage by acting quickly and hiring a professional.

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Related Article: Heat Pump Never Reaches Good Temperature In Cold Weather

The Compressor is Running But the Fan is Slow

Observe the outdoor unit. In some situations, the fan is not completely immobile. It may be running, albeit slowly. The compressor is also running. Technicians will focus their attention on the capacitor and the motor. After thorough testing, they will identify the problem and propose a course of action.

Note that some fans don’t operate in the extremes (fully on or fully off). Two-stage fans can run at speeds of 60% and 100%. Variable-speed fans are even more flexible, running anywhere from 40% to 100%, depending on the load. If you have these components, the slow fan may be working as intended. You may need to call a technician to get an expert opinion.

Related Article: Heat Pump Freezing Up In Summer

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Heat Pump or Fan Not Working

The unresponsive fan may coincide with an unresponsive heat pump. If this is what you are experiencing, you should check the thermostat right away. What are the current settings? Someone may have pushed the wrong buttons while you were out. Pick the correct mode and enter a reasonable temperature goal.

Consider the breakers. If the thermostat is fine, you may be dealing with a power issue. Place the circuits in the “ON” position. If they tripped recently, turn them off before turning them on again. The heat pump should run after that. In case the breakers trip again, call a technician to find a permanent fix for the recurring electrical problem.

Related Article: Top Reasons Your Heat Pump Won’t Turn Off

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Heat pumps fans are vital parts of the system. Take good care of them by keeping the outdoor unit clean and free of debris. If it starts to fail despite your best efforts, observe the symptoms to figure out what’s going on. Get help from an HVAC technician if necessary. Most cases will only require minor repairs for as long as you act fast.

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McAllister Energy provides the most competitive HVAC service rates in the locality. We can help improve your comfort, energy efficiency, and indoor air quality while reducing your energy bills with our maintenance services. If you need to replace or repair your HVAC system, we can recommend the most suitable solutions that fit your budget. Your satisfaction is our priority, so all our work is guaranteed. Schedule a service appointment and call McAllister Energy today. We offer free, in-home estimates.

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