How Long Does A Home AC Compressor Fan Motor Last?

By in , ,
How Long Does A Home AC Compressor Fan Motor Last?

Round and round it goes when it stops no one knows. Merts Heating & Air Conditioning isn’t talking about a merry-go-round or a roulette wheel. Instead, the subject is the compressor fan and motor on your air conditioner or heat pump. During peak cooling season in Illinois and Northwest Indiana it seems like the fan is running nonstop. 

Our technicians will sometimes run across AC motors from the 1980s and 1990s that are still running, but it’s awfully rare. More likely is a lifespan of 10 to 20 years which means by the time the AC motor fails it’s often time to consider replacing the entire system. One reason they last so long is they are designed and manufactured to withstand extreme heat up to 140℉.  


To be clear, the AC motor is separate from the AC compressor. Some warning signs that the fan and motor assembly are in need of tender loving care include:

  • A humming noise—This is often because of a bent or misaligned shaft or a poor electrical connection. It may or may not be a sign your AC motor is going to fail, but you should have a technician check it out as soon as possible.
  • Shrieking noise—This unpleasant sound is often caused by metal-on-metal contact meaning the motor bearings are worn out. Depending on the type of motor it may be possible to replace the bearings. In other situations, an air conditioner motor replacement may be the only choice.
  • Grinding noise—This is a pretty good sign the motor is burning out and is in danger of seizing up. Don’t wait on this one. Shut the AC off and call for repairs.
  • Unusual vibrations—You should NOT be able to see the cabinet containing the AC compressor vibrating. One common cause for this is an air conditioner motor that has come loose from its mounts.
  • Short cycling—This is what it’s called when the AC compressor repeatedly shuts down before the cooling cycle is complete, and then turns back on a moment or two later. Problems with the AC motor often cause short cycling.


The best way to make sure the AC motor in your Steger, IL or Crown Point, IN home doesn’t fail prematurely is with regular maintenance. Many of the problems listed above can be diagnosed and repaired by our Merts Heating & Air Conditioning technicians before serious damage occurs. For more great information like this just like and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.