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Question DetailsAsked on 6/29/2017

Should most dealers of Trane know that the capacitor needs to also be changed out as well as the motor blower

The tech came out to repair it was done in an hour but the motor does not turn off and hasn't since Saturday today is now Thursday of the next week?The company also wants to charge 300.00 for labor the part they said was under warranty.

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I assume you are talking about an A/C - or blower fan on a central air unit serving both furnace and A/C.

Sounds like part of the story is missing - or the tech is not competent at diagnosing the problem. The following is what I would do - granted different people will check some things learned to approach things - some start from the non-function item and work backwards to the source of the problem, some like me tend to work from the power source down the circuit so they don't run into unpleasant issues with energized items which should not be or with a fan or such kicking on because it becomes energized while handling it because of a loose connection or such.

1) When checking a non-functioning blower motor, he should test that the relay / starting circuit is getting power from the electrical system, and that the power is getting to the motor circuit when called for - either whenever the compressor is running with some economy systems, or based on a thermostat in intelligently designed systems. Some systems use a no-fail backup system where it runs whenever the compressor is running so a failed thermostat does not cause overheating of the unit, but also gets power to the fan if a thermostat on the condensor part of the tubing (with condensor fan) or on the evaporator coil (with air flow blower fan) reads above / below a certain temperature, to provide final cool-down after the compressor stops running.

2) Then, once he knows the motor circuit is getting power, check the capacitor to see that it is both of proper capacitance (that the capacitance has not "broken down" with use and age) and also that when energized it is actually discharging to the motor (does not have an open circuit inside it). That would tell if the capacitor needs replacing.

3) Then he should test the motor for an internal short or open indicating a wiring failure, for frozen up bearings, or obstructions to the fan keeping it from turning.

4) If the compressor is not working right then a check on power to it would be in order, from starting circuit/relay to the motor.

5) Those tests should tell if the blower motor, capacitor, or starting relay is the problem. Certainly all those should be checked for proper operation/power i the fan is not working properly.

6) Note if talking central air or air handler fan rather than the condensor cooling fan at the outside unit, sometimes it runs off the house thermostatic control and runs whenever the thermostat is calling for cooling regardless fo whether the A/C is working or not, and sometimes in a bit more complicated systems can be set to run for whole-house ventilation at a lower temp than where the A/C kicks on, as a comfort and energy saving measure. For instance, the blower might be set to operate at 68-75 degrees to provide air movement for the feeling of cooling and to dissipate hot spot air in hot zones in the house, with the A/C not kicking on till maybe 72-80 degrees depending on personal preference. Therefore,if the household temp is in that interval the blower might run continuously but not the A/C if the thermostat does not reach the temperature set for it to kick on.


7) Now - on the fan running continually. If an outside unit condensor cooling fan, either a stuck blower motor starter relay or a malfunctioning compressor/condensor thermostat could be causing this.

8) If talking the indoor central air or air handler blower fan (blowing the air through the ducts) could be it is actually operating as set per 6) above because the thermostat is in the fan but no A/C temperature zone. Could also keep running because of a failed thermostat keeping it on because it thinks it is hotter than it is, a stuck starter relay, or a confused or shot control board on the A/C or furnace.

9) In any case, the capacitor is not causing the motor to run continuously, though a combined starter relay/capacitor unit could be because it has the starter relay built into it - but the problem is upstream of the capacitor - for some reason it is getting power when it evidently should not be, which is passing through to the motor to turn it.

10) Or the household thermostat or central furnace/air handler control board has been accidentally set to the FAN setting from A/C, or set so the fan runs continuously above a certain temperature regardless of A/C operation. Sometimes dying batteries or a surge from a nearby lightning hit or power failure or surge in a thermostat or furnace/air handler control board can cause this sort of malfunction too.

Not clear what "part under warranty" they are talking about, but if something they just changed out a week ago has failed they should replace it for free - parts and labor both. It is a pretty miserly company which charges labor to replace a defective part they just put in. IF they are talking $300 labor to change out a capacitor, in almost all systems with normal worker access, you need to be looking for a new vendor, because that should be a minimum service call charge if they charge at all - about a 5-10 minute job on most units. And certainly if it has been running continuously since he was last there, he evidently did not install it right or changed out the wrong part so a fail on his part either way.

Which brings up the question of whether the part he changed out should be charged for - because if he misdiagnosed and replaced the wrong part you should not be charged for it, even if he threw the old one (motor in this case ?) away. Unfortunately, a lot of repair techs these days are poorly trained or untrained in diagnosis and seem to "repair" things by just replacing parts one after another till they hit the one that a proper diagnosis would have shown was bad.

Answered 1 year ago by LCD

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