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Old 06-13-2020, 03:25 PM   #1
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Play between fan and shaft in outdoor heat pump unit


This is the outdoor unit in our six year old air-to-water heat pump system (the indoor unit transfers heat from the refrigerant to water for hydronic heating). I opened up the front to check if the green slime visible on the blades had built up enough to be an issue (it had not). While washing it off I noticed that the black plastic fan has a small amount of play relative to the shaft (both rotational movement and ďrockingĒ as when opposite blade tips are pressed). Both of the fans in the unit exhibit the same behavior and the same amount of play and both have the mounting nut flush with the end of the shaft. Iíve never opened up a unit like this before so have no idea if that is normal or indicating something on its way to failure. In other types of equipment Iíd think that play is not normal. Does anyone else know? Thank you.

Chris
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Old 06-13-2020, 04:01 PM   #2
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Re: Play between fan and shaft in outdoor heat pump unit


I don't know about that brand specifically, but in most other plastic fans, when they get slack, they are going to wobble the hole bigger and bigger, until they are ruined and need replacement.

I would be getting with the company to see if they have replacements , before these fail, and maybe see if there was a recall, or a repair notice that you did not receive.


ED
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Old 06-13-2020, 04:41 PM   #3
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Re: Play between fan and shaft in outdoor heat pump unit


Too much slack/play from side to side is bad, back and forth is okay - if you're right in front of the fan.
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I am not in the business of any trade I give advice on. I have non-professional hvac experience + good knowledge of theory. Attempt repairs at your own risk. Never jump out safeties - especially pressure switches - on a furnace for testing with fuel supply on; use a meter. Do not troubleshoot with live line voltage present unless there's no alternative.
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Old 08-13-2020, 12:20 PM   #4
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Re: Play between fan and shaft in outdoor heat pump unit


Iíll provide some follow-up on this in case someone is using this thread for research in the future.

While the heat pump is just making domestic hot water and not heating the house is the time to do something with this, so I pulled the nut off one of the fans, expecting to see what Ed described - a plastic fan with a sloppy fit on the shaft as the plastic had worn away. Thatís not what I found. Sorry for the over-flashed photo. When I took the nut off it became evident that the plastic fan has a metal hub that fits over the shaft, to which a plastic hub is rigidly bonded. On close examination there is no wobble between these two and the shaft. The wobble that I noticed is generated through some sort of slightly flexible material that connects the plastic hub to the outer plastic of the fan itself. Some sort of vibration isolation, maybe? So it seems that this is normal for this unit and there is nothing to be concerned about.

Chris
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Old 08-13-2020, 12:26 PM   #5
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Re: Play between fan and shaft in outdoor heat pump unit


Interesting, must be a vibration damper thing.

Like the vibration damper on the pulley on the crankshaft on most auto engines.

ED
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