Heat Pump Fan Not Spinning

Discussion in 'HVAC Heating & Cooling' started by lohryx5, Apr 12, 2011.

  1. lohryx5

    lohryx5 New Member

    Messages:
    3
    Location:
    Virginia Beach, VA
    I have a Janitrol Split System Heat Pump (Goodman Manufacturing Company). The decal on the outside unit is pretty worn in some spots but I could read the following:

    Model: CPJ24- (CPJ24-1AP handwritten on install/operating booklet)
    Heat Pump: G0181770080
    Part Number: 14931-390 (as handwritten on install/operating booklet)
    Central Cooling Air Conditioner: G0182770080
    AC Volts: 208/230
    Compressor RLA: 10.9, LRA: ?unreadable
    Fan Motor FLA: 0.9
    Voltage Max Range: 253, Min: ?unreadable

    I just returned home from visiting family in PA for a week. The house was pretty warm (about 76) and the thermostat was set to heat (about 70) as the weather was pretty chilly here when we left. A friend who was watching the house for us said they didn't have to touch the thermostat.

    I switched the thermostat to cool and the air started to blow through the registers within a minute. After a while, I walked outside to fire up the grill when I noticed that the heat pump fan was not spinning even though the unit sounded like something was running. In fact, I could feel heat radiating from the unit and carefully touched the casing to get an idea where it might be coming from. It was extremely hot where the fan motor attaches to the top of the casing, and it had that smell of burnt wiring.

    I immediately ran inside and switched the thermostat to off. After waiting a while for the outside unit to cool off, I turned the thermostat to on again and listened to the unit as it sounded like it had kicked on, but the fan still would not turn...so I turned it off again.

    This morning, out of curiosity, I used a stick (probably not the smartest method) to turn the fan...it seemed to spin freely. So, I turned the thermostat to heat and used the stick to turn the fan again. After a couple of nudges, the fan started up and seemed to run fine. I waited for it to complete the heat cycle and then turned the thermostat to off. After about 10 minutes, I switched it to cool and tried the same thing. Again, after a couple of nudges, the fan started and seemed to run fine.

    Appreciate any info or guidance as to what the problem could be and how much it may end up costing. Thank you.
  2. nukeman

    nukeman Nuclear Engineer

    Messages:
    704
    Location:
    VA
    Sounds like a bad run capacitor on the fan. Usually, there is a dual capacitor that is shared between the compressor and the fan. I had one go out about 2 years ago and did the same thing. In my case, both the fan and compressor would not start. You would hear a click/buzz at the outdoor unit whenever it tried to start the fan/compressor. I could also flip the fan with a stick, and the fan would run for a few minutes, but still no cooling as the compressor wasn't starting. I did a little trouble shooting and narrowed it down to the cap. Picked up a new cap for under $20, I installed it, and it was fine after that. Actually, I just installed a new system and still have this practically new cap. If it is the same type that your system needs, I would be happy to send it to you. I have no need for it.

    In your case, you might either have separate capacitors for the fan and compressor, or it might be shared and only one side is dead. The other possibility is that it is a dual capacitor (that is totally dead), but your outside unit might have a hard start kit on it (which is basically just an extra capacitor that goes to only the compressor) and that hard start kit is enough to run the compressor. It sounds like the compressor is running, but the fan is not.

    Another possibility would be a bad winding or similar in the fan motor.

    Anyway, my guess would be run capacitor or condensor fan motor. It is hard to tell exactly from here. Neither one is very expensive, but labor/trip charge will probably be the largest part of the bill. The labor (in terms of hours) should be low for either of these parts. If you are comfortable doing some testing on your own, I can help guide you. Make sure that you pull the disconnect before removing the panel though!
  3. lohryx5

    lohryx5 New Member

    Messages:
    3
    Location:
    Virginia Beach, VA
    Thanks for the reply Nukeman. I've done some searching on other sites and the Run Capacitor seems to be what a lot of other people have had problems with. Unfortunately, I don't have a schematic or illustrated parts breakdown for the unit. I've even searched the company's website, but I think the unit may just be too old. I sounds like I'm having a problem similar to yours, except, when I flip the fan with a stick it starts running and stays running. I've already been able to cool the house down quite a bit and am waiting for it to cycle off. Then I'll keep an eye on the fan when the next cooling cycle starts up...we'll see if the fan kicks on then, but I'm doubting it will. You're right, though, it did sound like the compressor was kicking on but the fan wasn't starting up. Not sure about the windings on the fan motor cause it does run fine when I get it started.

    What model heat pump did you have when you first experienced this problem? I am an electronics technician (avionics) with over 20 years of experience, so I'm not afraid of troubleshooting any of this myself...I just don't have any HVAC experience and not having any schematics doesn't help either, lol. I do appreciate all your help.
  4. nukeman

    nukeman Nuclear Engineer

    Messages:
    704
    Location:
    VA
    Mine was a Bryant (A/C only), but the caps are universal for the most part. They just come in a couple different flavors. As stated, some are 2 caps in one package, others are separate.

    If you pull the disconnect to kill power, you can remove the access panel. On most units, it is on the corner where the refrig. lines and power/control all come in. Usually, there will be a schematic on the inside of the panel. Once you take the panel off, the capacitor should be obvious. It is typically cylindrical or oval in shape and probably about 4" tall with a couple terminals on top (a dual cap will have three terminals (fan, compressor, common) and a normal cap will have two terminals). Sometimes, it is obvious when they are bad (cracked, leaking, etc.), but sometimes they look okay physically (which was the case with mine). There will be a spec for each capacitance value as well at the rated voltage on the cap(s). Write down the numbers and see if an HVAC shop around there can help you (some only sell to contractors). I'll grab the numbers off mine and let you know for a comparison.

    Sometimes power surges and such seem to kill these things. In my case, it was working fine the previous cooling season, but then acted up when starting it the beginning of the next season. The unit was probably ~12 years old at the time, but I think age isn't a big player. I have heard of these failing fast or lasting for quite some time.
  5. nukeman

    nukeman Nuclear Engineer

    Messages:
    704
    Location:
    VA
    Here's the specs on my spare cap:

    40uF/5uF, 370 VAC
  6. lohryx5

    lohryx5 New Member

    Messages:
    3
    Location:
    Virginia Beach, VA
    Sure enough, it was a bad run cap. It was obviously bad from visual inspection alone, it was bulged and leaking. Part replaced and fan started up right away when I switched the unit on. Thanks again for all the help Nukeman! :)
  7. nukeman

    nukeman Nuclear Engineer

    Messages:
    704
    Location:
    VA
    No problem. Good to hear that it was a simple fix.. :)
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