Dealing with a broken air conditioner capacitor can be a pain. Unfortunately, it is typically one of the problems you will have to deal with at some point. In this article, we will be discussing some of the keys to diagnosing and repairing your air conditioner capacitor. However, we will first be going over some of the ways you are going to want to check if your capacitor is working in the first place.
What Is A Capacitor?
When you are trying to figure out if your capacitor is working, you are likely going to want to understand what a capacitor is. A capacitor is essentially a small cylindrical object that stores energy. They are meant to provide a jolt in order to start a motor or even to keep the motor running properly. They work in conjunction with the compressor, the blower motor, and the fan in your air conditioning unit.
Checking To See If It’s Working:
When you are looking to check to see whether or not your capacitor is working, you will want to use a device like a voltmeter. This is a device that will be able to tell you whether or not your capacitor is blown. However, another way you can check is by utilizing a listening technique which will allow you to effectively tell whether or not there are issues that you might have to deal with.
How To Tell If You Listen Closely:
If you go outside and stand next to your condensing unit, you should be able to tell whether or not it is working properly by checking for a humming sound. A humming sound indicates that the unit is functioning properly if combined with a working fan.
- Look At The Fan
You also want to check to ensure that the fan is operating as it should on a proper spin cycle. This is something that will tell you whether or not you are dealing with a capacitor problem because if the A/C is working but the fan is stalled, you are likely dealing with a capacitor problem.
If you are dealing with a working A/C unit but a malfunctioning fan, you can always try to see if a push of the fan gets it to work again. Sometimes, you might notice that the fan gets stuck from debris. However, by using a long stick or something of that nature, you should be able to get it functioning again. If that doesn’t work, you are likely dealing with a failed start capacitor.
Why Does This Tell You It’s Not Working?
The capacitor is essentially there to give an added boost in order to get the fan going when the A/C starts up. It works by storing power on its own. When the unit is started, it is meant to release the stored energy to provide enough of a jolt to get the fan working. If the capacitor isn’t working, it is not going to be able to supply the energy that is needed to jumpstart the fan. By effectively doing the work manually for it by pushing the fan to get it going, you should be doing the capacitors job for it.
Keys To Fixing It:
- Turn Off The Power
The first thing that you are going to want to do if you are looking to fix this type of issue is to turn off your power completely. You want to turn off all of the power to the unit by disconnecting the power through your breaker unit.
- Locate The Capacitor
The next step involves locating the capacitor. You want to do this because it is going to allow you to inspect it to ensure that it is the thing that is causing the problem. Also, it will allow you to take the steps to fix it. To do this, you want to remove the service panel on your A/C unit, locate the start capacitor, and look at the capacitor where it connects to the unit. You should be able to tell if it has blown by checking to see whether or not the surface is curved at all.
How To Tell If It’s Blown:
The easiest way to tell if the capacitor is blown is by checking to see its shape. The shape of the capacitor shouldn’t be swollen at all. Like other things that blow, when the capacitor blows, you are going to notice that the shape is significantly altered. Thus, you will notice that the top is swollen or misshaped in some fashion.
- Discharge The Capacitor
This is a critical step that you are going to want to be sure to take precaution with. While you have stopped the current of electricity to the unit, that doesn’t mean the electricity and power stored in the capacitor is gone. As noted previously, the capacitor is meant to store its own energy and supplies it to the unit to kickstart the fan. Because of this, you are going to need to completely discharge the power from the capacitor to safely remove it and choose the right air conditioner refrigerant type. The best way to do this is by utilizing a rubber handle screwdriver which is going to insulate you from electric shock.
- Remove It
Once you have effectively discharged the excess power from the capacitor, you are going to be tasked with removing it. You will want to remove it by unscrewing the screw that is connecting it to the unit. This should be a simple process.
- Take A Picture
Always take a picture when you are removing the wiring from the capacitor so you are better able to reconnect everything as it should be.
- Replace It
You will then be tasked with choosing a replacement that you can use for your unit.
Overall, there are a lot of things that you can do to effectively deal with a blown capacitor. By following the tips above, you should be able to do so successfully. However, you should call on a professional if you are going to be doing all of this and you are not fully confident in your abilities to do so. While it can be a simple process if you are trained and experienced, it can be dangerous if you do not take the proper precautions.