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Old 07-10-2020, 02:15 PM   #1
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Extreme AZ heat - AC fan motor goes out


3.5 ton unit just under three years old. Properly maintained and filters regularly changed.

Renter calls in AC issue and vendor comes over this morning and tells me unit needs a new fan motor.

$575 which is steep but I pay and the unit is running again. I have a 10 year warranty on parts but the vendor tells me it's cheaper to replace the part with the one he has in his truck. If he has to pick up the part I'll be charged for the time it takes to get the part and then return. And the total cost would be more Which sounds like b.s.

Anyway, I asked the AC vendor why the bad fan motor? The unit is just three years old. The AC is a package unit on the roof and was cleaned earlier this year.

He told me the fan wasn't dirty but because of the extreme heat fan motors will break here. Even those 3 years old.

I put new AC units in my rentals 2-3 years ago. I personally make sure filters are changed and the units are cleaned once a year.

All to make sure they don't break down esp. this month.

But here were are in July... the hottest month of the year and a fan motor goes bad on a unit just under three years old. Aren't AC units esp. those sold in AZ designed to withstand extreme summers?

Is the AC vendor right: It 's not unusually for an AC fan motor to go bad in extreme summer heat... even one in a fairly new AC unit.

Thanks

Last edited by ken33xx; 07-10-2020 at 02:23 PM.
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Old 07-10-2020, 03:21 PM   #2
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Re: Extreme AZ heat - AC fan motor goes out


They should run more then 3 years, just bad luck I guess. About the $575 charge, that is the way most AC tech charges, it does not matter if you have a warranty or not, they will bump up the labor charge to $500+ anyway, So, that parts warranty is a joke.
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Old 07-10-2020, 03:31 PM   #3
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Re: Extreme AZ heat - AC fan motor goes out


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Originally Posted by clocert View Post
They should run more then 3 years, just bad luck I guess. About the $575 charge, that is the way most AC tech charges, it does not matter if you have a warranty or not, they will bump up the labor charge to $500+ anyway, So, that parts warranty is a joke.
That's what I'm thinking. I know Carrier and Trane are the big brand names but the person who did the installation told me AC units basically use the same parts. You're just paying for the name and not necessarily a better unit.

The AC unit I have is Night and Day
https://www.bakerdist.com/heil-phj43...r410a--81970a7
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Old 07-10-2020, 03:41 PM   #4
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Re: Extreme AZ heat - AC fan motor goes out


It would be nice if all units shipped to hot climates, like some parts of AZ, would use high temperature condenser fan motors. Those can be had with ratings of 70 C. (158 F.) max ambient. Most conventional ones are only rated for 40 C. (104 F.) max ambient.

And yes, that affects the life of fan motors and almost everything else that gets too hot. Even so, your failure is probably not typical... time will tell since you have others just like it running.

Since it was in warranty, did you swap the failed one for a replacement so you'll be ready for the next act?
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Old 07-10-2020, 05:02 PM   #5
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Re: Extreme AZ heat - AC fan motor goes out


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Originally Posted by surferdude2 View Post
It would be nice if all units shipped to hot climates, like some parts of AZ, would use high temperature condenser fan motors. Those can be had with ratings of 70 C. (158 F.) max ambient. Most conventional ones are only rated for 40 C. (104 F.) max ambient.

And yes, that affects the life of fan motors and almost everything else that gets too hot. Even so, your failure is probably not typical... time will tell since you have others just like it running.

Since it was in warranty, did you swap the failed one for a replacement so you'll be ready for the next act?

The AC vendor took the damaged Fan motor and I assume tossed it out. I wasn't aware that I could swap the part for a replacement given I am not a licensed AC vendor.
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Old 07-10-2020, 05:46 PM   #6
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Re: Extreme AZ heat - AC fan motor goes out


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Originally Posted by ken33xx View Post
$575 which is steep but I pay and the unit is running again.
I'd say that's a little steep for a condenser fan motor bill... especially since he had it on the truck.

It would be interesting to see what rating the replacement motor has.

In your position, I might be tempted to buy one on my own and keep it on hand for emergencies like this. Here are a couple representative selections that I suggest as maybe better than what you may have gotten. They are rated at 70 C. and will stand up to the AZ heat better than a standard one.

High Temp Cond Fan mpotors
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Old 07-10-2020, 05:56 PM   #7
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Re: Extreme AZ heat - AC fan motor goes out


As a DIY'er , if i were a landlord i'd be finding a motor supply and changing those myself.


And i thought that was Swamp Cooler country.








Edit: Edit:

Last edited by SeniorSitizen; 07-10-2020 at 05:59 PM.
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Old 07-10-2020, 05:58 PM   #8
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Re: Extreme AZ heat - AC fan motor goes out


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Originally Posted by surferdude2 View Post
I'd say that's a little steep for a condenser fan motor bill... especially since he had it on the truck.

It would be interesting to see what rating the replacement motor has.

In your position, I might be tempted to buy one on my own and keep it on hand for emergencies like this. Here are a couple representative selections that I suggest as maybe better than what you may have gotten. They are rated at 70 C. and will stand up to the AZ heat better than a standard one.

High Temp Cond Fan mpotors

Yeah, I'm very disappointed in this AC vendor.

Are these generic fan motors which can be used an any ICP AC units listed below?
https://www.grainger.com/content/com...D2PRA7%2C2PRA9

Here are the units I had installed within the past 3 years

R4A560AKB
N4A560GKC
R4A542AKA
PHJ442000KTP0A
PHJ436000KTP0A

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Old 07-10-2020, 07:06 PM   #9
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Re: Extreme AZ heat - AC fan motor goes out


The ones I linked were representative but not specific to your needs.

You'll have to check your units for what would be a good "fits all" for your needs. Frame type, voltage, rotation and shaft size are the main considerations. And of course the max ambient temperature of 70C. in your case.

All those parameters are in the sidebar filter at the Grainger site I linked when you search for HVAC condenser fan motors. They have a huge selection so that's a good resource for this type of research.

Check it out here
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Old 07-10-2020, 07:40 PM   #10
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Re: Extreme AZ heat - AC fan motor goes out


I'm kind of a noob, but I was in an HVAC parts store the other day and looking at all the fan motors considering that there was a possibility I had a fan causing a short. Turned out my fan is fine.

Well, there were many different sizes of fans and power ratings. I think they were all under $100 though.

So I think you mostly paid for the labor and diagnosis. And in July, HVAC techs can charge more because usually they have a backlist of clients panicking in the middle of summer when something goes wrong.

The lid to a condenser is fairly easy to pop off. and the fan is just attached with a couple wires and bolts.

I think the diagnosis is usually the hardest part of any job, whether I'm working on one of my cars or on a home appliance or HVAC. Unbolting and replacing parts once you know what is wrong is always the easier part.
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Old 07-10-2020, 07:45 PM   #11
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Re: Extreme AZ heat - AC fan motor goes out


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Originally Posted by Apostle007 View Post
I'm kind of a noob, but I was in an HVAC parts store the other day and looking at all the fan motors considering that there was a possibility I had a fan causing a short. Turned out my fan is fine.

Well, there were many different sizes of fans and power ratings. I think they were all under $100 though.

So I think you mostly paid for the labor and diagnosis. And in July, HVAC techs can charge more because usually they have a backlist of clients panicking in the middle of summer when something goes wrong.

The lid to a condenser is fairly easy to pop off. and the fan is just attached with a couple wires and bolts.

I think the diagnosis is usually the hardest part of any job, whether I'm working on one of my cars or on a home appliance or HVAC. Unbolting and replacing parts once you know what is wrong is always the easier part.
Diagnosing the screwed up wiring system would be the most difficult for me. Some can be wired wrong and it makes them run wrong rotation.
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Old 07-10-2020, 07:59 PM   #12
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Re: Extreme AZ heat - AC fan motor goes out


As my old driller liked to say, "Anybody with half-sense and one eye could do that."

He had a lot of saying like that. He advised, "Just as tight as you can get it, then one more turn" when threaded pipe was being made up.

I think those are the only ones fit to print here.
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Old 07-10-2020, 09:02 PM   #13
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Re: Extreme AZ heat - AC fan motor goes out


Quote:
Originally Posted by Apostle007 View Post
I'm kind of a noob, but I was in an HVAC parts store the other day and looking at all the fan motors considering that there was a possibility I had a fan causing a short. Turned out my fan is fine.

Well, there were many different sizes of fans and power ratings. I think they were all under $100 though.

So I think you mostly paid for the labor and diagnosis. And in July, HVAC techs can charge more because usually they have a backlist of clients panicking in the middle of summer when something goes wrong.

The lid to a condenser is fairly easy to pop off. and the fan is just attached with a couple wires and bolts.

I think the diagnosis is usually the hardest part of any job, whether I'm working on one of my cars or on a home appliance or HVAC. Unbolting and replacing parts once you know what is wrong is always the easier part.
So true. I'm thinking the AC unit is three years old. The AC tech I had over this morning is the same guy who inspected and hosed down the unit last March.

The AC is a package unit so installation is fairly easy. I believe the installation was done correct.

However, this rental over the past 15 years has had electrical issues. I'm thinking about having someone check the fuse box to ensure everything is working properly.

The AC guy told me "Well, it's AZ and extreme heat can cause this..."

And I'm thinking the unit is just under 3 years. The fan motor shouldn't go bad. I personally make sure the AC filters are changed and the unit is serviced once a year.

I did notice the air vents in a couple of bedrooms were open all the way. Maybe this cause undue stress.
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Old 07-10-2020, 10:14 PM   #14
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Re: Extreme AZ heat - AC fan motor goes out


No, the stress is the heat,
I tell my tenants to give the units some rest, they can't run 24/7. I also tell them that if their units break down, it could be a few long days without cooling.
Have your choice: Respect the machine or bake and shake.
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Old 07-11-2020, 12:01 AM   #15
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Re: Extreme AZ heat - AC fan motor goes out


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No, the stress is the heat,
I tell my tenants to give the units some rest, they can't run 24/7. I also tell them that if their units break down, it could be a few long days without cooling.
Have your choice: Respect the machine or bake and shake.
they can run 24/7 just fine. I'm not sure why you'd tell them that. I don't think i've ever seen a condenser fan or compressor with a SF <1.0.
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