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Replace fan motor on Heatpump or replace the unit?
Old 06-07-2021, 08:57 PM   #1
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Replace fan motor on Heatpump or replace the unit?

The fan motor just went out on my 12 year old American Standard, 15.25 SEER/13 EER Heatpump. Replacing just the fan motor, parts and labor, will be $934. Replacing the entire unit with an American Standard, 16 SEER/13EER Heatpump, parts and labor, will be $6,850 after a $500 energy rebate.

The unit has been trouble-free for 12 years and has always had yearly preventive maintenance. Texas summers can be brutal and with a 12 year old unit, I'm not sure if spending almost $1K on one replacement part is the best option. Looking for any input from anyone who's had a similar situation. Thanks!
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Old 06-07-2021, 09:16 PM   #2
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If it were me I'd opt to go ahead and bite the bullet on a new unit.

My experience says 12 years is about the average lifespan for a heat pump in Texas. My last one (Trane) was 12 when it died and our current heat pump (Amana) is 11 years old. When it starts having problems I'm not willing to invest much in repair work and have already budgeted for a replacement unit.
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Old 06-07-2021, 09:17 PM   #3
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Happened to me last year on a conventional system. Fan motor went out on a 12+ year old system along with the starter/run caps. I think it cost me about $500 to replace them all.. It was August (in Texas) so I just had it fixed ASAP... Later that year (December) I replaced the entire system.


I think I discussed this in another thread several months back with more detail but I'm too lazy to look it up tonight.
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Old 06-07-2021, 10:27 PM   #4
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Based on the cost of a new one, if the repair lasted 2 yrs OP would be ahead financially.

$6850÷12 = $571/yr

How difficult is it to replace the fan motor ?
I did my furnace motor about 6 yrs ago, and it's still going strong. I think the actual motor cost $130.

Did OP get more than 1 quote ?
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Old 06-08-2021, 05:12 AM   #5
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Fix, don't replace.

My outside (compressor) fan motor died at 9 years, fortunately at that time my system was still under a 10-year parts & labor warranty.
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Old 06-08-2021, 05:14 AM   #6
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I would repair. If it was 20+ yr old, replace.
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Old 06-08-2021, 05:32 AM   #7
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I would repair. If it was 20+ yr old, replace.

+1, I agree. You could easily get several more years out of the unit after replacing the fan motor. I would get another quote on replacing the motor, though, as the one you got seems high.
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Old 06-08-2021, 05:54 AM   #8
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That's a pretty simple repair, On mine, I think it is 5 bolts and unplug the wiring connector. Could it not be the motor, but the start capacitor instead?
See if you can locate the motor number and find the best price. Then figure out if you have friend that is mechanically inclined to help you out.


btw, I had my compressor fan quit turning and the motor was very hot!! I replaced the capacitor and it's been fine for years. ($12 from Amazon)
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Old 06-08-2021, 05:57 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sunset View Post
Based on the cost of a new one, if the repair lasted 2 yrs OP would be ahead financially.

$6850÷12 = $571/yr

How difficult is it to replace the fan motor ?
I did my furnace motor about 6 yrs ago, and it's still going strong. I think the actual motor cost $130.

Did OP get more than 1 quote ?
I agree with the above. I'd also add opportunity cost to the calculation. ($6850 - $934) * 4% another ~ $236/year. So every added year it runs 'saves' another $236/year (on average). $571 + $236 = $707, so you could be ahead in just over a year.

Maybe factor in a new unit will save some energy, offsetting that some (but 15.25 vs 16 doesn't sound like much, you'd need to do that math)?

And another quote. $934 seems high for a standard, non-variable speed fan replacement.

-ERD50
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Old 06-08-2021, 05:57 AM   #10
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Quote:
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That's a pretty simple repair, On mine, I think it is 5 bolts and unplug the wiring connector. Could it not be the motor, but the start capacitor instead?
See if you can locate the motor number and find the best price. Then figure out if you have friend that is mechanically inclined to help you out.


btw, I had my compressor fan quit turning and the motor was very hot!! I replaced the capacitor and it's been fine for years. ($12 from Amazon)

+1 Indeed that is where I would look first.

I now keep a string of capacitors available with alligator clips so I can quickly diagnose if adding capacitance helps the situation.

More often than not the answer is 'yes' for an electric motor that will not start.
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Old 06-08-2021, 02:23 PM   #11
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Just to clarify, is the OP talking about the interior (blower) fan near the evaporator, or the exterior (compressor) fan?
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Old 06-08-2021, 03:09 PM   #12
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Just to clarify, is the OP talking about the interior (blower) fan near the evaporator, or the exterior (compressor) fan?

Hmm... I thought it was outside, now I wonder. Rereading, I'm now thinking interior.

I'm on my 3rd interior fan motor. The original fan died under it warranty, I got it replaced. When the replacement motor developed a noisy be"aring, I ordered a bearing and then my brother-in-law, an HVAC guy said, no, I have replaced to many ECM type motors, I'll put in a PSC motor". So he did and it has worked fine for the last several years.
I'll never know if the new bearing would have done just as well. But I do know the ECM type motor has many electronic components to go bad. Note: they are encased in a potting compound to prevent you from replacing a $4 part and instead, having to buy a $300 motor.
The PSC type motor is all wire and one electronic part, an electrolytic capacitor. They do go bad, but are easily replaceable and are cheap.
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Old 06-08-2021, 03:10 PM   #13
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It's the exterior fan motor at the compressor. I checked with a Shorty's HVAC Supplies online and the replacement fan motor for my unit is $503. It's "very expensive" because it's a "modular" motor. I'm still considering my options. Thanks!
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Old 06-08-2021, 03:33 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Budatx View Post
It's the exterior fan motor at the compressor. I checked with a Shorty's HVAC Supplies online and the replacement fan motor for my unit is $503. It's "very expensive" because it's a "modular" motor. I'm still considering my options. Thanks!
I'm not sure what a modular motor is, but I'd be tempted to just install a regular motor as all it has to do is blow air over the coils.
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Old 06-08-2021, 04:33 PM   #15
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I would pull that fan motor and take it to the HVAC supply house.

It is a quick, easy job to replace it.

My 26 year old Trane. heat pump compressor locked up--3 1/2 ton. Bids for 3 ton replacement were $5300, $7200, $8900 and $4100. Needless to say who installed the whole new system.

Let me just say HVAC is a high profit margin business.
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Old 06-08-2021, 04:52 PM   #16
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First, I'd make sure the motor was actually bad and not just a failed $20 starting capacitor. If it hums and you can spin the blades to get it running, it's a bad cap.

If the motor is bad, I think I would probably gamble the $500 for a replacement and install it myself.
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Old 06-08-2021, 06:54 PM   #17
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I use to keep a used spare condenser fan motor, but threw it out. Highly typical to lose the capacitor. Stupid HVAC techs upsell. However, it could be a failed motor, or not. If there is no cartel in your state, go the an HVAC supply or online and buy a generic fan motor to match. Rarely, they have 2 speed motors, but with your SEER rating, likely only a single speed, pretty easy to tell by wiring. Highly unlikely that it should cost $500. FGS, its just a simple fan motor. Go to Grainger on line and get a replacement. American Standard should be an easy cross reference for a matching Baldor or Reliance motor, but check the capacitor first. Also try Supplyhouse.com.
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Old 06-08-2021, 06:58 PM   #18
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https://supplyhouse.com/sh/control/s...NG=fan%20motor
Most are $100 bucks or less.
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Old 06-09-2021, 03:31 PM   #19
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I agree with the others, charging almost a grand for simple fan motor is beyond greedy. I'd go buy the fan motor locally or online and tell that A/C company to pound sand.
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Old 06-09-2021, 03:50 PM   #20
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I just remembered, when I had my condenser fan motor changed last year, they removed the external start and run capacitors at the same time.... I asked why... They said the new motor had all of those functions built in. I sure hope they last longer than the external ones. However, it does make for a very clean and simple (minimal wires) installation.
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