Condenser Fan Quits After Approx 10 Min - HVAC - DIY Chatroom Home Improvement Forum

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Old 08-06-2008, 02:51 AM   #1
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Condenser Fan Quits After approx 10 min

I have an old Goodman PG042100-1AB

Key Players:
My HVAC Company (Moe, Larry)
Other HVAC Company “Curly”
This weekend I noticed that my house was not cooling at all. The thermostat was reading 87 at night. Air was coming through the vents but it was warm damp air. We were miserable. On Monday I tried to schedule my regular HVAC company to service my unit but the earliest they could come would be Tuesday morning. I made the appointment anyway but began to call around to see if another company could come.
I got in touch with another company that had a tech that could be there in 30 minutes. I was about 10-15 minutes away from home myself so I thought that would be fine. I didn’t know anything about this company so I hoped that I wouldn’t regret it. When I got home, I found that the tech(Curly) had already been there, diagnosed the problem, and already left. He apparently discovered that my condenser fan and capacitor were bad and needed to be replaced. He cut my unit off as to not burn up the condenser. He said that he could have me up and running that afternoon for $425. or if I paid him directly for $375.
I admit being a little skeptical. How was he able to draw that conclusion so fast? I told him that I would have to check the budget and then get back with him. I then remembered that I had a motor and capacitor replaced last year by my regular HVAC company. I called them and found out that there was 2 weeks left on the warranty. I was informed that if my motor and capacitor were indeed bad, they would repair everything free of charge. Since I aready had an appointment scheduled for tomorrow, they would fix it then.
When the tech, “Moe”, came the next morning, he asked me to turn on the unit. He then pointed out that my motor was running. Indeed it was. He took the top off of the unit and noticed that some insulation was hanging from the top of the unit and possibly obstructing the blower. He assumed that was the problem. I guess it made sense.
He repaired the insulation and convinced me to buy a service contract for $150 plus todays service for a total of $195. He then cleaned the coils and checked voltages. I paid him and then he left.
25minutes later I noticed that the temp in the house was increasing again. it kept getting hotter and hotter. I finally called the company and informed them what was going on. They agreed to send someone to look at it again. The tech, “Larry”, came a few hours later and discovered that the condenser fan was not running. When I reset the breaker, it started working again. Larry said that I needed to order a new motor and cap.
Apparently the motor and cap that they replaced last year was for the blower assembly and not the condenser. They would replace it for me for $ 350. Doh!
So I just paid for a $150 for a service contract on a Unit that doesn’t even work. I paid $45 for the tech to misdiagnose the insulation as the problem. Now I am going to have to fork over another $350 to replace what “Curly” could have done a day earlier w/o the service contract for $375.
By the way, the condenser fan motor stops turning after about 10 minutes. If I pull the fuse, wait 10 minutes , and then restart the system, It’ll run for another 10 minutes or so.
What should I do? Am I owed some help by the HVAC company? Am I SOL?
The condenser fan motor is an Emerson KA55HXEEC-713 (1/4 H.P. 1-Speed 208/230 Volt 1075 RPM) Can I replace it with any motor that meets those specs? Any suggestions?


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Old 08-06-2008, 10:30 AM   #2
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Ahhh......the joys of bein a homeowner. First of all, you have to realize that you need to pay each and every tech you call to your house....if you have an issue with their work, then ask for a refund.
The first tech you had on-site correctly diagnosed the issue and was going to fix it, but you decided to let someone else look at it. This is not his fault.
As for the service contract, it is designed to ensure the system is running properly and to let the homeowner know of any faults that will need to be addressed to ensure the unit will stay working - I assume that the faults are to be billed out over and above the cost of the service agreement. ($150 doesnt cover much in the way of materials).
The condenser fan motor and capacitor should be replaced if it seizes up after 10 minutes or so of operation....your first tech probably came on site when the fan was seized so he was able to diagnose the problem quite quickly.
If you want to attempt to do it yourself, take the motor and capacitor to your local motor supply house and get them to get you a proper motor and capacitor for your ac unit.
Lastly, I would try and find a tech that you feel comfortable with and use him 99 percent of the time. We all make mistakes, but you can just compound your repair costs by calling in every joe blow and harry to fix your ac faster.


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Old 08-06-2008, 12:04 PM   #3
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You're right. In hindsight, staying with the first tech would have been the best thing to do. I was just uneasy b/c a new very little about his company and he was already gone before I got there. I'm definitely not blaming him for anything.
If I didn't mistakenly think that I had a warranty on the condenser motor and Capacitor, with my usual HVAC company, then I would have gone with the repair anyway. Too bad the warranty was on the blower motor.

The 2nd tech WAS from my usual HVAC company but he was unable to diagnose the problem since the condenser fan worked while he was there. I don't know if there is a way to test for a bad motor or cap before it actually breaks.

I am upset at myself more than anything and the only way I can feel good about any of this is if I can stay under $400. My replacement motor and Cap are less than $80 from Grainger. The same parts from my HVAC were quoted at $300. They will not install user supplied parts.

So I think that I will try to do this myself.

One new bit of info. When the motor stops, I can actually take a screwdriver and carefully spin the fan blades. The motor will then start right back up. I don't know if that means anything or not.
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Old 08-06-2008, 02:44 PM   #4
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I admit being a little skeptical. How was he able to draw that conclusion so fast?
He's good?

He repaired the insulation and convinced me to buy a service contract for $150 plus todays service for a total of $195.
If you have the money, always "self insure." The contract administrators have to charge you what they are likely to end up paying plus their own overhead.
And, especially with the help of this forum, you might end up only paying for parts.
This self-insure idea doesn't apply to auto liability insurance.

By the way, the condenser fan motor stops turning after about 10 minutes. If I pull the fuse, wait 10 minutes , and then restart the system, It’ll run for another 10 minutes or so.
You have an intermittent problem with a time constant of 10 minutes, most likely a heat buildup that takes that long. I'd look for a large component pulling too much current or a small component drawing slightly over spec value for current.
Since you can reliably reproduce the symptom you have a better chance of fixing it.

You also might want to check A/C current draw; the power for this heat buildup has to come from somewhere.

If you can start the fan by pushing, it is likely the start capacitor.
If 8 Ball would sign off on my capacitor testing idea from another post, I could tell you how to check the capacitor, in circuit.

Last edited by Yoyizit; 08-06-2008 at 02:46 PM.
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Old 08-06-2008, 05:33 PM   #5
oops, did I do that!
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Somehow, I just knew he would show up!
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Old 08-06-2008, 06:03 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by 8 Ball View Post
Somehow, I just knew he would show up!
Glad you are not disappointed!


"The problem isn't that Hillary Clinton lies. We all know she lies. The problem is that her supporters don't seem to care"
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