What to Do If the Outside Fan on Your Heat Pump Is No Longer Running

image of a heat pump fan depicting outside heat pump fan not working

Consumers throughout the nation are switching to heat pump heating in their homes. These machines are versatile enough to provide both heating and cooling in one relatively compact package and with minimal energy use. If you’re among the many homeowners who are making this transition, stay on top of the recommended maintenance schedule to extend the service life of your heat pump and prevent problems. If you think that something is ever amiss, give it your full attention. Call a trusted HVAC company right away for a solution. For instance, you might discover that the heat pump outside fan not running. Keep reading to find out about this all-too-common problem.

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When Should the Outside Heat Pump Fan Run?

A heat pump has two interconnected units. One unit is installed outside of the home, and the other is installed indoors. If the unit inside of your home is no longer blowing air, you should look to the outdoor unit for information on what’s happening. After all, these two units work in tandem. The outdoor span should be continually spinning whenever the system is working to reach the temperature that’s set at your thermostat. It should only stop once this temperature has been achieved. If the fan won’t budge, your living space won’t get any conditioned air.

Why Won’t My Heat Pump Fan Spin When the Heat Pump Is On?

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With the absebce of a functioning fan, the system won’t function as it should. This is an issue with a variety of possible causes. One reason could be that there’s debris in the interior unit that’s clogging it up. Physical obstacles will keep the blades from moving. Units that are outside of the home are vulnerable to debris, given their location. This is a risk that you can mitigate by cleaning the perimeter of the unit on a regular basis. Cut down nearby vegetation, clear away dry leaves and other organic debris from the top, and dislodge items that have gotten trapped in the fan. Always be sure to turn the power to the unit off before getting started, and use a stick or other like tool. Never poke around in this unit with your hand.

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Should the Outdoor Unit Run During the Cold Season?

Air conditioners and heat pumps operate on the same principles. The primary difference between the two is that heat pumps are able to provide both cooling and heating and thus, they’re useful year-round. Air conditioners get all of the attention when the weather is warm, whereas heat pumps perform even during winter. The outdoor fan for a heat pump should spin constantly during normal operation. It may even start spinning during the defrost cycle. If the fan won’t move at all, there is a problem.

Related Article: Top Heat Pump Issues Homeowners Experience In Winter

Should My Heat Pump Fan Keep Spinning?

heat pump compressor

There are limits to the versatility of a heat pump. Even though heat is capable of supplying heat during the cold season, most units are only able to cope with relatively mild winters. When temperatures plummet and near zero, heat pumps struggle to keep up with heating demands. They often compensate by working both longer and harder. Their fans run non-stop as they struggle to reach the setting at their thermostats. Fan activity should stop when you enter a lower goal for indoor temperatures. If your heat pump doesn’t respond, its blower may malfunction. This is something that an HVAC technician can handle.

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Common Causes of Heat Pump Fan Problems

In every machine, moving parts gradually sustain wear. You have to keep a watchful eye on your heat pump and its fan because the fan is a leading indicator of potential issues. Some problems are fairly straightforward, while others are a bit more complex.

Related Article: Top Reasons Your Heat Pump Won’t Turn Off

There’s a Debris-Related Obstruction

image of a heat pump compressor surrounded by overgrown plants

If your heat pump’s outdoor fan isn’t working as it should, the first thing to check for is trapped debris. This is something you should do before attempting anything else. Visually inspecting the area could reveal nests, sticks, and even pests around the fan blades or in their path. Shut the power off before trying to move anything to keep yourself safe. Get rid of the obstructions, and then restart your heat pump. If the problem isn’t resolved, more advanced troubleshooting is likely needed.

Problem 1 – The Fan Motor Is Sticky

It could be that the fan motor is going out, but its capacitor is still working. You can give the fan a nudge to get it to spin. Move the fan blades with a stick until the fan’s motor kicks into action. Keep in mind, however, that this solution is only a temporary one. If the fan motor is on its last leg, it will eventually need replacing. Have a professional handle this repair.

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Related Article: Heat Pump Never Reaches Good Temperature In Cold Weather

Problem 2 – The Fan Is Dead

At times, giving the fan blades a push won’t help at all. Maybe the capacitor or the fan motor is dead. An HVAC technician can find out which part needs to be replaced. Call one now. Do not use your heat pump again until the problem has been resolved. Letting your heat pump run without a functional fan could cause the compressor to overheat. A failed compressor is very costly to replace. Avoid this damage by getting timely repairs from a professional.


The Compressor Is on, But The Fan Is Moving Slowly

Take stock of your outside heat pump unit. In some instances, it may be that the fan is moving, albeit at a very slow pace. The compressor is functioning as well. In this case, technicians will check the capacitor and the motor. After having thoroughly tested these things, they will diagnose the issue and propose a solution.

Keep in mind that fans won’t operate when the heat pumps are fully off or fully on. Two-stage fans have the ability to run at speeds of 100 percent and 60 percent. Variable-speed fans are a lot more flexible and can run at speeds between 40 percent and 100 percent, depending on the heat pump’s load. If you have a variable-speed fan, it could be working just fine. You simply need to get an expert opinion from a licensed HVAC company.

Related Article: Heat Pump Compressor Not Turning On


The Fan or the Heat Pump Isn’t Working

If the fan is unresponsive, it could be because your heat pump is unresponsive. Check the thermostat. What are your current thermostat settings? Someone in your home may have adjusted it while you were away. Choose the correct thermostat mode and then set your thermostat at a reasonable temperature.

Check the Breakers

If the thermostat is set correctly, you could have a power issue on your hands. Make sure that all circuits are in the “OM” position. If they were recently tripped, turn them off and then turn them on. Your heat pump should start running. However, if the breakers keep tricking, you’ll need a professional to perform an electrical repair for a permanent solution.

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Related Article: Why Is My Heat Pump Blowing Hot Air In Cool Mode?


Heat pump fans are essential components within these systems. Take care of your heat pump’s fan by keeping the outdoor unit free of debris and clean. If this component fails despite regular maintenance and care, take stock of the symptoms it’s exhibiting to learn more about the underlying cause. Contact an HVAC company as needed. If you act fast, most issues require just minor repairs.

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Homeowners in Monmouth and Ocean Counties, New Jersey, count on Lawes Company for help with their heat pump issues. Our team is comprised of certified and highly trained technicians who can expertly handle your HVAC repairs, tune-ups, installations, and more. They are adept at solving heat pump problems correctly.

Lawes Company is known for having the most competitive prices on heat pump replacements and repairs in our area. Our maintenance service can help you enjoy a comfortable home, a smaller carbon footprint, and lower energy bills. When your heat pump needs to be replaced, we will assist you in finding an option that suits your budget and the needs of your household. Everything that we do is firmly backed by our guarantee. To set up an appointment for a heat pump inspection, contact Lawes Company. We can also give you a free, onsite estimate.

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