Capacitors are one of the more common reasons behind your air conditioning repairs, but can often be done on your own if you’ve had adequate experience with HVAC units. Before you go attempting to fix this, let’s make sure that you understand what a capacitor is and what it does in the HVAC unit.
A motor capacitor is an electrical capacitor that modifies the current to one or more windings of one individual cycle for your air conditioning unit. In layman’s terms, your capacitor throws a stored charge when the voltage reaches zero, which keeps your voltage steady. A steady voltage allows for your unit’s motor to run smoothly and efficiently.
Checking if your capacitor is working is pretty easy if you have a voltmeter. If you do have one, you’ll be able to tell if your capacitor has blown, but it’s even easier to simply listen and watch. If you stand aside your condensing unit you can check to see if the fan is spinning or if you can hear any humming noises. If you can hear humming, but the fan is not running, the capacitor might be your problem.
The first step to fixing this is by shutting off the power to the unit. This should be within feet of the condensing unit. The cover should open easily and you can then locate the capacitor. It is usually round or oval and silver. The next thing you will check is whether or not the surface of the capacitor looks curved on top, similar to a dome. When a capacitor blows the top is almost always raised.
The next steps include discharging the power in the capacitor by placing an insulated-handle screwdriver across the terminals. Tossing a capacitor that hasn’t been discharged could cause a fire or an electrical shock, so make sure to do so. After, dismount the capacitor noting how the wires are connected. Choose a new capacitor making note of whether or not the wires will connect properly, and then reconnect. Once reconnected, start the power back up.
While this may seem like a quick and easy repair, not doing so correctly could ultimately cause greater damage to your air conditioning unit. If you are uncomfortable dealing with a broken capacitor, save yourself the trouble and call North Central Florida Air Conditioning Inc. here in Gainesville!