May 10, 2023

AC Fan Spinning Backwards: Why It Happens

ac fan spinning backwards

Need help with your air conditioning system? Call our Lion Air team at (754) 225-6051.

When your vents don’t blow cold air, or you notice weak airflow, you may head out to inspect your exterior air conditioning unit and discover the AC fan spinning backwards. AC fans should only spin in one direction, so when you find a fan spinning in the opposite one, you may feel some concern. Coral Springs’ trusted air conditioning repair specialists can help you understand what’s going on and why the problem might occur.

How Do I Know if My AC Fan Is Spinning Backward?

Most homeowners don’t watch their air conditioners long enough to recognize that their AC fan may run backwards, but if every other potential issue doesn’t seem viable, check the AC fan. The best way to determine if your fan spins backwards is by checking your unit’s condenser motor for the electric motor data tag. On this tag, look for the letters CW (clockwise) or CCW (counterclockwise) and compare the spinning of your AC fan blade.

If you discover that the fan runs opposite from the way it should, you’ll need an HVAC professional to help fix the issue. 

Why Is My AC Fan Spinning Backward?

Expert HVAC technicians can help you figure out why you have an AC fan spinning in the opposite direction. When they come to check out your air conditioner problems, they’ll check several components of your unit to troubleshoot the issue. Common reasons for an AC fan spinning backwards include:

A Dying Motor

A faulty motor can occur due to different parts of the component itself, such as switches, windings, or rotors. When an HVAC tech takes a look at a potentially dying motor, they’ll test it to determine the failing part and repair it if possible. If they can’t fix a broken part in the motor itself, you may have to replace the motor in its entirety, plus the capacitor.

Mixed Up Wiring

If you’ve recently had work done on your HVAC unit, the installer may have mixed up the two wires used to run the AC fan. This fix consists of one of the easier repairs, requiring no additional parts or specialty equipment orders. Fixing mixed-up wiring to repair an AC fan spinning backwards also takes less time, lowering the amount of labor required.

A Failing HVAC Belt

HVAC belts can wear out over years of use, and a broken or malfunctioning belt can change how your unit works, especially if you have a belt motor that helps your fans run. If you have a failing HVAC belt, only an air conditioner professional can repair or replace the part.

A Malfunctioning Capacitor

Your AC fan’s motor depends on the capacitor. If you install a new motor without changing the capacitor, or if you try to run your motor with a non-compatible capacitor, you run the risk of causing your AC fan to run backwards. 

How Much Does It Cost to Repair an AC Fan Spinning in the Wrong Direction?

The cost for repairing an AC fan spinning backward varies depending on what’s causing the fan’s misdirection. If you recently had AC work done and the fan runs backward afterward, you can try calling the company that performed the work and requesting them to repair the issue, which they often will do for no cost. However, if an HVAC tech tells you that you need to have the motor and capacitor repaired, it may cost between $300 and $600 for parts and labor.

How Can I Avoid My AC Fan Spinning Backwards?

The easiest way to ensure your AC fan spins in the right direction at all times is by taking great care of your HVAC unit. Everything from changing out the air filter regularly to scheduling annual HVAC inspections and maintenance can extend the lifetime of the most important components in your air conditioner. For example, a cared-for HVAC system’s AC fan motor can last 12 years or more, while failing to regularly maintain your system can kill the motor in as little as three years.

Expert AC Fan Repairs with Lion Air Conditioning Cooling and Heating, LLC

Most homeowners don’t know what to make of it when they discover their AC fan spinning backwards. Whether they need to call the original HVAC company back or have to call for new AC repairs, professional technicians can turn your fan around in no time.

For expert AC maintenance or repairs, call Lion Air Conditioning Cooling and Heating, LLC, in Coral Springs, FL, at (754) 225-6051.