Central A/C Condenser Issue - Fan Blades not Spinning at Startup

8 days ago

For my only 2 year old central a/c unit (Reem, 5 ton), I happened to be outsides recently and noticed that the condenser unit was making a consistently loud noise -- that louder hum noise that usually happens only at startup before it settles into a more muted hum. I checked it out, and the fan blades weren't running, and a lot of heat was being generated too.

For days, this issue persisted, although only some of the time. Other times if I turned it off, and especially turned off circuit breaker, and it would come on ok. Worried about burning out the motor when the blades don't spin, I would constantly monitor it and only turn it on manually to make sure it turned ok correctly. After a few days of that, I have now had 1.5 days of it working without any issue. I've even put it back to automatic and am not monitoring it constantly. But I'm still worried it might start being an issue again, which may not be good for the unit/motor?

I did open up the panel to look at the capacitor (photos below), which I thought might be the issue based on some online research. However, it didn't look bulging which would be indicative of an issue, just rusted on top, and 2 years seems premature for a capacitor issue. Also, I tried the trick of trying to give the fan blades a kick with a stick to get going at startup (if it's truly a capacitor issue) but was never able to get that to work (either due to technique, or because it wasn't a capacitor issue).

Any theories?

Now that it seems to working again, is it a big risk if I just forget about it and don't catch the issue right away if it returns again? (i.e. motor burnout?)

I called the installing contractor, but they won't give me any advice unless they come out to look at it (and pay their hourly fee), which seems unnecessary now that it's working again. Reem doesn't provide technical support over the phone.


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