How To Look At A House

McGarry and Madsen's home inspection blog for buyers of  

site-built, mobile/manufactured and modular homes

Why are there wires sticking out above the condenser fan motor?

Wednesday, July 13, 2022

The wires are unsafe and should not be there. They are the rotation leads, and carry 240-volts of electricity. The wires are “live” most of the time, even when the fan is not running. They are a shock hazard and required to be protected from weather deterioration and mechanical damage, and the wire connections should be made in the integral junction box/wiring compartment that was part of the UL-listing of the equipment at time of manufacture.

   This happens when a lazy air conditioning tech changes out the fan motor. It just takes a few more minutes of work to secure the wires correctly below the fan grille. We always call this defect out for repair during a home inspection, and it’s one we see pretty often. 

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Field Guide for Home Inspectors, a quick reference for finding the age of 154 brands of HVAC systems, water heaters, and electrical panels, plus 210 code standards for site-built and manufactured homes, and the life expectancy rating of 195 home components. Available at for $19.95.
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  To learn more about condensers, see these other blog posts:

Why does an air conditioner condenser unit need to be level? 

How do I understand the air conditioner or heat pump condenser label (data plate)?

What is causing the outdoor unit (condenser) of my air conditioner to shake? 

How can I tell if an air conditioner uses R-22 or R-410A refrigerant? 

What is the average life expectancy of an air conditioner? 

Can the disconnect box be mounted directly on a heat pump or air conditioning condenser? 

What is the code for minimum height of air conditioner or heat pump condenser mounting pad/slab above ground?

Can I convert a heat pump or air conditioner from R-22 refrigerant to R-410A, or switch R-410A to R-22? 

How can I tell whether the condenser (outdoor unit) is an air conditioner or heat pump?

What is the small pipe sticking out of the eaves/soffit under the roof overhang?  

How much clearance is needed around an air conditioner? 

How can I make my Florida air conditioner last longer? 

What is the requirement for a service receptacle outlet for heating, air conditioning, and refrigeration (HACR) equipment?

Does an old air conditioner use more electricity as it ages?

Does the condenser (outdoor unit) SEER rating determine the SEER of an air conditioning system? 

When does the ban on R-22 air conditioning refrigerant take effect?  

Why is it bad to have a clothes dryer vent near an air conditioning condenser (outdoor unit)?  

What is an air conditioning heat recovery system? 

My air conditioner outside unit (condenser) won't start and is making a humming noise. What's wrong?

The coolant line to the outside unit of my air conditioner is frozen. What's wrong? 

• Does the mounting pad have to be replaced to install at new heat pump or air conditioner condenser (outside unit)? 

• What is the required clearance for access and working space in front a heat pump or air conditioning condenser (outside unit)? 

• What is the difference between a fan coil unit (FCU) and an air handling unit (AHU)?

• What is the best location for a heat pump condenser (outside unit)? 

   Visit our HEATING AND AIR CONDITIONING page for other related blog posts on this subject, or go to the INDEX for a complete listing of all our articles. 

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