How freely should a central A/C condenser fan spin


Last year my home's central air condenser fan motor stopped working. When I noticed the house wasn't cooling down I went outside to investigate and found there was a humming sound coming from the unit, but the fan wasn't turning.

After researching the problem online, I found the capacitor may be bad and causing the problem. The capacitor wasn't blown, but I replaced it anyways. The problem still existed; Fan won't spin and a humming sound is coming from the unit.

So, I inferred that the motor must be bad. Yesterday I unbolted the fan from the unit to try and spin the blades by hand. To my surprise, it spun. It spun 3 to 5 rotations with a medium amount of force (the same force it would take to bounce a basketball 8 feet in the air). I expected the motor to be stuck and not spin at all, so now I'm second guessing myself.

My question is: How freely should it spin? I've read in numerous places that the blade should spin "freely", but I'm not sure what that means. Should it spin around 50 times with a medium amount of force? If I was holding it up in the air, should a 15mph breeze spin the blades like a pinwheel? Or is the 3-5 rotations freely?

Best Answer

If you replaced the start capacitor, and you are getting proper voltage to the fan motor than the only thing left is to replace the fan motor. If the fan turns at all without forcing, it should spin when powered up. If the fan turns freely or not is not a definitive indication that is good or bad.