Heat Pump Troubleshooting: Heat Pump Outside Fan Not Running

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

Today, more homes are switching to heat pumps, which are a great way to have both heating and cooling in one small and energy-efficient package. If you’re one of those people who made the switch, it’s important to keep up with regular HVAC maintenance to make sure your heat pump works well and lasts a long time. If you notice anything strange, don’t wait. Call a professional to check it out right away. One thing you might notice is heat pump outside fan not running. If you want to know more about this and other heat pump issues, keep reading.

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When Should the Fan Run on My Heat Pump?

A heat pump has two basic parts; one inside your home and one outside. If the part inside your home is not blowing air, check the outside unit since the two work together. The fan in the outside unit should be spinning while the heat pump is trying to reach the temperature you set on the thermostat. Also, it should stop spinning once it reaches that temperature. If the fan doesn’t move, your home won’t get the cool or warm air it needs.

What Could Be Making My Heat Pump Fan Not Spin When the Unit Is On?

A heat pump needs the fan to work correctly. If it’s not working, there could be a few reasons why. One possible cause is that debris has built up inside the unit and blocked the fan blades from moving. The outside unit can easily get dirty or blocked with debris because of its location. To prevent this, keep the area around the unit clean. Remove leaves and anything else blocking the fan, and trim any nearby plants. Remember to turn off the power before cleaning and use a stick or tool to remove debris. Do not use your fingers.

Should My Heat Pump’s Outdoor Unit Run During Cold Weather?

Heat pumps and air conditioners are similar in the way they work. The main difference is that heat pumps can provide both heating and cooling. This makes them usable all year round. While air conditioners are mostly used during hot weather, heat pumps also run during cold winter weather. The fan on the outdoor unit should keep running as part of its normal operation as well as during the defrost cycle. If the fan doesn’t move at all, there might be a problem.

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Is It Normal for the Heat Pump Fan to Keep Spinning?

Heat pumps are versatile, but they have limits. They can provide heating during cold weather but struggle with extremely low temperatures. As the temperature drops closer to freezing, the heat pump might have to work harder to keep up with the heating demands. The fan may run continuously as the heat pump tries to reach the temperature set on the thermostat. Once the temperature is reached, the fan should stop. If it doesn’t stop, there may be a problem with the blower, and you should contact a technician to check it.

Common Reasons for Heat Pump Fan Issues

image of who what when depicting heat pump problem causes

Just like any other machine, heat pumps can have issues with moving parts. One of the most important parts to keep an eye on is the fan. Problems with the fan can indicate larger issues. Some problems are easy to fix, while others require more work.

Debris Blocking the Fan

If the fan on your outdoor unit isn’t working properly, the first thing to check is if there is any debris blocking it. Look for things like twigs, nests, or pests around the blades. Remember to turn off the power before cleaning for safety. Remove the debris and turn the system back on. If the problem persists, more advanced troubleshooting will be needed.

Problems with Heat Pump Fan

  • Problem 1 – Sticky Fan Motor: Sometimes, the motor of the fan may be going bad, but the capacitor is still fine. You may be able to make the fan spin by giving it a push with a stick. However, keep in mind that this is only a temporary solution. If the motor is really failing, you’ll need to have it replaced by a professional.
  • Problem 2 – Dead Fan: If pushing the fan doesn’t work, the motor or capacitor may be damaged. A technician will be able to tell you which part needs to be replaced to fix the problem. Don’t wait to call a professional. Also, don’t let your heat pump run without a functioning fan. Otherwise, it can overheat the compressor and make the repairs cost more.
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The Compressor is Running, But the Fan is Slow

If the fan is running, but slowly, the capacitor or motor may need attention. A technician can test these components and determine the problem and the solution. Keep in mind that some fans don’t operate at only one speed. For example, two-stage fans can run at 60% and 100%, and variable-speed fans can run anywhere from 40% to 100% depending on the load. If you have one of these types of fans, the slow fan may be working as intended, and you may need to call a technician for an expert opinion.

Why Isn’t My Heat Pump or Fan Working?

If both the heat pump and fan are not working, the first thing you should check is the thermostat settings. Someone may have accidentally changed the settings while you were away. Make sure the correct mode is selected, and a reasonable temperature goal is entered.

Next, check the circuit breakers. If the thermostat is fine, the problem may be a power issue. Make sure the circuits are turned on. If they have tripped recently, turn them off and then back on again. The heat pump should start working after this. If the breakers continue to trip, it’s best to call a technician to find a permanent solution to the electrical problem.



The fan is a crucial part of the heat pump system, and it’s important to keep the outdoor unit clean and free of debris. If the fan starts to malfunction despite your best efforts, pay attention to the symptoms and get help from an HVAC technician, if necessary. Most problems can be fixed quickly with minor repairs as long as you act fast. If you are not sure what is the problem with your unit, get in touch with a qualified HVAC company to ask for help.

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Trust Point Bay Fuel for All of Your HVAC Needs

When it comes to heating and cooling services in Ocean and Monmouth County, New Jersey, Point Bay Fuel is the name you can trust. Our team of certified technicians has many years of hands-on experience with HVAC units. Our team is highly skilled and experienced in providing top-notch HVAC tune-ups, repairs, installations, and replacements. We ensure that your HVAC system is in good hands.

At Point Bay Fuel, we pride ourselves on offering the most affordable heating and cooling service costs in the region. Our maintenance services not only improve your comfort but also increase energy efficiency and reduce home heating and cooling costs. Whether you need a repair or a new system, we will recommend the best option that fits your budget and needs. We stand behind our work with a satisfaction guarantee. Give us a call today to schedule a service appointment and take advantage of our in-home estimates.

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