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Old 06-28-2011, 09:55 AM   #1
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Replacing AC blower motor


Hi all,

The blower motor in my AC unit died, and I was quoted roughly $800 to have it replaced. I contacted a local HVAC supply store and they said a blower motor for my unit would be ~$150, with a 5mfd capacitor at ~$10. However, when they found out I wasn't a licensed contractor, they wouldn't sell me the part because they didn't want the liability associated with me working with 208v. Is this repair really that difficult/dangerous? I'm a handy guy, and it didn't look like $600 dollars worth of labor to me to replace the blower motor... I can just shut the whole unit off at the breaker, so what's the danger associated with the electricity?

Thanks for the time everyone,

Dave

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Old 06-28-2011, 10:59 AM   #2
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Replacing AC blower motor


Typically the condensing unit on/off switch mounted on the condensing unit has live 220 v on the incoming side, a contact type switch (that you control with the on/off ac switch in the home) in the middle, and when you switch on the ac system in the house, live 220V on the outgoing side of the condensing unit on/off switch that then energizes the capacitor and condensing unit. The problem is that most home owners do not have access to the incoming 220 power form the electric company to turn off the 220 v power to the incoming side of the condensing unit on/off switch.

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Old 06-28-2011, 01:26 PM   #3
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Replacing AC blower motor


a few things.....First, understand that the supply house you got a price from is selling at wholesale, not retail. 2nd, the contractor has to mark up the parts. 3rd, the contractor is in business to make a profit. 4th, Skilled, licensed technicians will be performing the work.

Regardless of all that, it does sound high priced to me, however, every area and contractor is different. IF you want to do it yourself and save some money, find a local motor shop. They should be able to help you if you take the current motor and capacitor with you.
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Old 06-28-2011, 02:06 PM   #4
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Replacing AC blower motor


Not doubting what you say, but... many fancy A/C systems have intelligent controls and boards that start the blower motor. If it's a fancy multi speed or ramp up/ramp down speed unit, it might not be the motor. Are you sure it's the motor, or are you sure the blower isn't blowing air?

Post your units model numbers.
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Old 06-28-2011, 02:52 PM   #5
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Replacing AC blower motor


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Originally Posted by handyandhandsom View Post
Typically the condensing unit on/off switch mounted on the condensing unit has live 220 v on the incoming side, a contact type switch (that you control with the on/off ac switch in the home) in the middle, and when you switch on the ac system in the house, live 220V on the outgoing side of the condensing unit on/off switch that then energizes the capacitor and condensing unit. The problem is that most home owners do not have access to the incoming 220 power form the electric company to turn off the 220 v power to the incoming side of the condensing unit on/off switch.
99.99% of homeowners have access to a fuse box/circuit breaker panel where they can cut the power (not to mention equipment shut-off panel near the external unit). Why do you say this?
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Old 06-28-2011, 03:16 PM   #6
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Replacing AC blower motor


You are correct that homeowners like me do have access to the in house circuit breaker panel. In my home and using the in home circuit breaker, I can disable the in house ac on/off switch which then disables the switch on the condensing unit that provides electricity to the capacitor. However, I still have live 220 volt coming from the electric company box to the inlet side of the on/off switch mounted on the condensing unit. I can access the electric company box by cutting the safety wire on the exterior breaker box door, but I choose not to do that task.
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Old 06-28-2011, 03:27 PM   #7
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Replacing AC blower motor


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Originally Posted by handyandhandsom View Post
You are correct that homeowners like me do have access to the in house circuit breaker panel. In my home and using the in home circuit breaker, I can disable the in house ac on/off switch which then disables the switch on the condensing unit that provides electricity to the capacitor. However, I still have live 220 volt coming from the electric company box to the inlet side of the on/off switch mounted on the condensing unit. I can access the electric company box by cutting the safety wire on the exterior breaker box door, but I choose not to do that task.
IF you turn the 220V breaker off to the A/C then NO POWER will be present at the condenser ON either side of the disconnect switch. IF it worked the way you stated then there would be no overcurrent protection on the 220V to the condenser.
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Old 06-28-2011, 03:45 PM   #8
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Replacing AC blower motor


Apparently some States have a different way of supplying power to AC units. Some have an interruptable service so they shut you down in peak times and give you a lower rate etc. Sounds like H and H has a variation of that system. States with high AC usage/draw/loads and brownout problems use that from earlier posts I have read over the years. California, Florida, Texas and maybe Georgia where I here it gets pretty hot at times. The disconnect should ideally be mounted on a wall not the condensor but with its switch off our poster can change his own motor. Not as easy as it looks. May need a blade puller and getting it lined up properly etc is not as easy as it looks.
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Last edited by yuri; 06-28-2011 at 03:48 PM.
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Old 06-28-2011, 03:56 PM   #9
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Replacing AC blower motor


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Originally Posted by dave81 View Post
Hi all,

The blower motor in my AC unit died, and I was quoted roughly $800 to have it replaced. I contacted a local HVAC supply store and they said a blower motor for my unit would be ~$150, with a 5mfd capacitor at ~$10. However, when they found out I wasn't a licensed contractor, they wouldn't sell me the part because they didn't want the liability associated with me working with 208v. Is this repair really that difficult/dangerous? I'm a handy guy, and it didn't look like $600 dollars worth of labor to me to replace the blower motor... I can just shut the whole unit off at the breaker, so what's the danger associated with the electricity?

Thanks for the time everyone,

Dave
I think the same when I go to a doctor .
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Old 06-28-2011, 08:14 PM   #10
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I think the same when I go to a doctor .
and we make "house calls"
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Old 06-28-2011, 08:34 PM   #11
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Replacing AC blower motor


On MH's often the power to the condenser is ran from the meter base, and not the panel box.
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Old 06-28-2011, 08:39 PM   #12
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Replacing AC blower motor


I believe the code in the OP's area is the same as mine, and unless he lives in a MH, his condenser is powered from his panel box.

But since he said the blower in his A/C unit, he may be talking about the air handler and not the condenser. Which is still powered from the panel box.

The ability to mark wires before disconnecting them, and being able to read and understand the wiring diagram will help when changing out a motor.

Now how easy the blower wheel, or fan blade will come off the old motor, is what m ay hold some people up.
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Old 06-28-2011, 08:46 PM   #13
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Replacing AC blower motor


In my neighborhood some condenser is powered from panel box and some disconnect box.
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Old 06-30-2011, 10:13 AM   #14
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Replacing AC blower motor


AC is running now; 10 year old capacitor was bad as shown by swelling on one end. I suspected the capacitor. So instead of a DIY where I bought a capacitor for $35 or so and I installed it, I paid $100 and got a free freon check to boot.

Thanks to all for your good comments and support.


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