The Capacitor Start-up Booster, Common Cause For Air ConditioningFailure

The Capacitor Start-up Booster - Many causes for air conditioning failure are easy to spot and easy to fix. But some heating and cooling repairs are safe and some are not so safe. Working with electricity is dangerous, even for pros. Before removing the service cover on any electrical appliance or heating and cooling equipment, know the risks and the safety procedures associated with that equipment.

Capacitors As Start-Up Boosters
AC capacitors collect and store power. Eliminating the power source to your HVAC system does not eliminate the risk of electric shock. Even without an incoming power supply, the capacitor in your outside condensing unit retains sufficient power to knock you sideways. Moreover: Disposing of an incorrectly discharged capacitor into your family trash can cause a house fire. Also, you need to avoid letting the capacitor come into contact with paper, dry grass, or any other combustible materials. To discharge the stored current from within an A/C or heat pump capacitor, disengage the power source and then use an insulated screwdriver to short across the terminals of the capacitor. Take heed to the following two rules:
  • Disconnect the unit power source
  • Discharge the capacitor.
TIP! Set aside funds for a yearly HVAC house call. Routine service improves A/C efficiency and reliability.
Oops... Another Air Conditioning Failure

Broken air conditioning means nasty, hot and sweaty days both inside and out. Moreover, heating and cooling equipment repair can be costly. But wait! Perhaps the tips in this article will help you save a few dollars on the cost of staying cool during rising temperatures. Just remember that messing with electric components is risky. Take care that you fully understand this guide and the associated warnings.

Make Use of a Multimeter

Capacitors store electric charge and are used to maintain voltage supply and/or boost torque during device startup. HVAC systems use capacitors for both purposes. By sight and sound alone, you can make several good guesses concerning the condition of your air conditioning capacitor. However, for the final test, technicians use a multimeter, and if you are scratching your head over the term, maybe you should just give the job to a local A/C service center.

Multimeter- Testing A/C Capacitor
  • Disconnect the unit power source
  • Discharge the capacitor
  • Mark for location and then disconnect the wires from the capacitor's terminals
  • Place the leads from the multimeter on the terminals, one to each terminal
  • The reading should be within six percent of the rating for that make and model of capacitor.
TIP! If there's a clicking in your HVAC unit, check for any sort of obstructions immediately. This may be because debris is restricting the movement of the fan blades.

Test Ear-Focused A/C Capacitor Test

Perhaps using a multimeter is out of your range of expertise, but you still want to do some preliminary testing before calling in the HVAC repair crew. To check your unit via sound, stand near and listen for a humming sound. If the system fan is not spinning but the humming is present, the air conditioning failure is likely linked to a faulty capacitor.

Bad Capacitor - Testing By Sight

Typically, when a capacitor goes bad, the unit itself shows evidence of the failure. If you feel comfortable removing the condensing unit's service panel, you can perform a visual inspection of the capacitor. Does the unit appear to have a bubble-top, something that makes you think the capacitor may be ready to pop open. A swollen capacitor is likely a blown capacitor.

TIP! Consider an annual A/C service agreement for technicians to regularly inspect your AC unit. Schedule brief inspections for the winter to make sure nothing is obviously wrong.

Replacing The A/C Capacitor

When dealing with air conditioning failure that requires replacement of the capacitor, remember two simple points:
  1. Note the voltage rating of the existing unit
  2. Note the micro-farads (μF) of the existing unit.
Read also: AC capacitor cost

Brand name and unit-shape (within reasonable limits) is unimportant. However, Even holding to the exact voltage rating is somewhat flexible. However, the micro-farads (μF) must be an exact match from old to new. But if you are not 100% confident that you can safely install the correct part, let a professional HVAC technician deal with your air conditioning failure issues.


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The Capacitor Start-up Booster, Common Cause For Air ConditioningFailure
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