The condenser fan motor on my central air unit has seized up (tried like crazy to turn it it, but no go). I'm not sure how old the motor is but I'm guessing it's original, so about 12 years old. I have located a universal motor that is listed as being compatable with my motor (same horse power, voltage, RPM's, etc) for about $100 online.

The installation looks fairly simple, looks like I will just need to pull the electrical wires out of the existing motor and connect them to the new motor in the same fashion that I did when replacing our garbage disposal.

I have 3 questions:

  1. Has anyone used a universal motor to replace an original one before and how well did it do?
  2. Is there any reason I wouldn't be able to do this myself? (Yes, I know to make sure and disconnect the power)
  3. If I did need a professional to replace the motor for me, would I be better off getting the motor myself and having them install it or allowing them to purchase the motor (maybe they can get a better deal) and have them install it.

2 Answers 2


First off, I vote for a new unit if you can swing it, but $100 is a lot cheaper and you are not likely to offset the cost of a new unit with the savings from a newer, more efficient unit for many years.

The condenser fan motor isn't that hard to change, you just need basic hand tools and a gear puller. It would also be a good time to replace the fan start capacitor as well.

  • yeah, i think i'll be replacing my ac unit in a couple of years (and probably my heater) but until then i think this will be a temporary solution. what does a gear puller do / what would i need it for? May 19, 2011 at 1:31
  • sears.com/shc/s/… May 19, 2011 at 2:35
  • Just a generic gear puller. You can probably rent one from a local auto parts store for free. The fan is going to be tight on the motor shaft and the gear puller will make removal easy. youtube.com/watch?v=gzYpKTNchko - Never used a puller like that, but you get the idea. May 19, 2011 at 2:39
  • One more thing, mark the fan blade direction before you remove the fan from the original motor. Nothing quite like getting something back together to find out the fan blows in the wrong direction. (should be up and out of the compressor unit) May 19, 2011 at 2:41
  • 1
    came here to say "mission accomplished". got a quote from a company for $485, got the motor and capacitor and installed myself for $200 :) Jun 22, 2011 at 0:14

Not the $100 option, but you may want to consider replacing the entire blower unit rather than the fan itself. Newer units will be more efficient, offer features like a variable speed motor, and come with a warranty. But if you go that route, you will likely want a professional to come in for the install.

Regardless, always get the price for the parts from the professionals separate from labor. There's a good chance they are marking up the prices and even going over to the local HI store will get you a better deal (for big stuff, online is usually the cheapest).

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