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Common Air Conditioner Capacitor Failure Symptoms

Capacitor Failure Symptoms

are sometime harder to identify without the right tools and expertise. the most common symptom of a bad capacitor is that the motors do not run. This is especially true for the compressor. Fan motors can sometimes run even with a bad capacitor but hidden damage is still happening to the fan motor. Fan motors can also run intermittently with a weak or bad capacitor. There are not always visible signs that a capacitor is bad. But there are times when you will see either a balloon shape on the capacitor or a split and leak. But this is not always visible when a capacitor is bad. It’s best to have an expert check the capacitor. There is a high risk of severe electric shock if a capacitor mishandled. This is not a DIY repair.

Types of Capacitors

Capacitors can be found in several different sizes and shapes. There may be one or multiple capacitors included in your ac with regards to the design. While the most popular capacitors are the types found on circuit boards, the ones most associated with air conditioning will be the bigger capacitors that assist start and run your motors. There are several motors present in an conditioner and heater systems:

  1. Compressor Motor Run Capacitor: Here is the most popular capacitor that fails. Most of the time these are duel capacitors, which means that there are 2 capacitors built into one. A duel capacitor will have three terminals on the top where a single capacitor will simply have two terminals on top.
  2. Outside Fan Motor Run Capacitor: That is the smaller capacitor found with or part of the Compressor Motor Capacitor. It helps start and run the outside fan that blows air through the outside coils.
  3. Indoor Blower Motor Run Capacitor: Similar to the outdoor fan motor capacitor, it is a small, single (two terminals) capacitor that will help start and run the indoor blower motor.
  4. Start Capacitor: Some models include an auxiliary start capacitor that helps jump start the motors. Most are found on the compressor. These are less common.

Why do capacitors go bad

When capacitors go south, they either go out entirely or they decline in strength. The decline is measured in the “capacitance” units called micro farads. When the capacitors are produced, they are labeled with their specifications capacitance and a range +/- from the design capacitance. This range is the allowable operating range, usually labeled in a percentage range, for the capacitor. If the capacitor starts to fail, the capacitance measured will be outside of the labeled range. Sometimes these are difficult to find any symptoms unless you have the proper tools. Warning, there is a risk of severe shock, so do not try this at home.

Diagnosing a bad capacitor

If a capacitor goes out completely, or is severely out of its operating range, it may prevent the motor affiliated with it from running completely. If the compressor motor is not working, then the air conditioner will not cool. If the outside fan is not working the compressor may cause problems and will short cycle or cease working. If the indoor fan stops, you’ll find that there is no air blowing through the vents.

For Quick, Honest and Affordable Service, call

Alexander Heating and Air Conditioning

1-919-886-HVAC (4822)

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Top 4 HVAC Repair Myths

  1. A technician said my coil is rusty therefore I must have a leak. Although likely to be true, it is not 100% accurate. The coil rusts when too much water or ice builds up on the coil over time. Ice can build up on the coil for other reasons, not just for leaks. Air flow has just as much impact on creating a frozen coil situation. Crushed ducts, poor design or dirty air York Air Conditionerfilters can all prevent enough warm air from flowing across the coil to prevent it from freezing. Proper maintenance and routine filter changes can help prevent frozen coils.
  2. My Capacitor is not swollen so it must be good. Not necessarily. A capacitor can be weak but not dead. A weak capacitor can wreak more havoc than a dead capacitor. Usually a dead capacitor will prevent the motor from running. Whereas a weak capacitor will allow the motor to run under poor conditions and quickly shorten the life of the motor. Motor replacements are expensive.
  3. A technician said a UV light would prevent dirt in my ducts. While a UV light helps prevent bacteria from growing on your coil, it does not prevent or destroy dust particles. Those pass the light unaffected and build up on motors and insulation that allows mold growth.
  4. I don’t need to maintain my heating or air conditioning system until it stops working. Although this is the choice most homeowners make, it is incorrect to assume the system will run fine without maintenance. Hidden dangers build up every year that a system goes without maintenance. Capacitors start to go weak (see item #2), compressors start to run hotter, drain lies build up with mildew. Delaying the maintenance will likely force the homeowner to spend more money on major repairs sooner than would be normal for a well maintained system. Maintenance does not guaranty your system will not need any repairs, but it does improve the life span of one of the most expensive systems in your home. You change the oil in your car every 3000 miles, why wouldn’t you have your system cleaned and inspected every year too.



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Dirty Flame Sensor Problem

It really is typical this seasonal time of year to note that your furnace is switching on and off two or three times for very brief runs. Then subsequent to the three attempts, the furnace shuts down for about an hour or two. After this wait period, the furnace attempts to start-up again. So why is my furnace not staying on? Maybe or maybe not your flame sensor may perhaps be the problem. Do I have an unsatisfactory flame sensor? Maybe you have a dirty flame sensor. This is very common for furnaces which may have not had a optimization or regular maintenance in the previous Two to five years.

What exactly ought I do regarding a dirty flame sensor?

Get a service technician clean and check your flame sensor. It might require replacing or only a cleaning, depending upon the problem. Typically either one of these solutions will likely be a relatively cost effective repair. Cleaning and checking the flame sensor should really be a regular element of a yearly maintenance tune up. Call Alexander Heating and Air for a tune up or acquire an annual service contract and feel confident of how your furnace is in great shape.

Warning: most furnace repairs involve high voltage and flammable gas. It is strongly advised you don’t perform this yourself. Have a skilled HVAC technician check and clean your flame sensor.

Just what is a flame Sensor and are they all necessary in my furnace?

The flame sensor is one among the many safety features inside of a gas furnace. There are some being checked right before the gas is allowed to burn and some right after the gas is burning. Those that are checked right after the gas is burning are available to safeguard you and your home from dangerous conditions while your gas is burning. The flame sensor is just one of those safety measures. The flame sensor is constructed out of metals that will create an electrical current if in the presence of a flame. It is usually meant to shut the product down when not enough burning fuel is detected from the last burner in the gang of burners inside the furnace. A constant flame from the last burner would indicate a reliable burning environment and also that the whole set of burners are getting approximately the very same amount of fuel and air. If no flame is there, then any one of the burners inside the group could possibly be burning fuel in an unsafe way. Therefore the system checks for the flame and closes the fuel valve when no flame is detected. Any system can have a false reading, so the control board usually tries to light the burners two more times. If these three times the system delivers the same message that the flame sensor isn’t detecting a flame, the whole furnace is shut down via the control board either for a couple of hours or completely until reset by a service technician. This is called a lockout condition.

What triggers flame sensors to malfunction?

You can find two possible challenges with flame sensors. A dirty flame sensor could be the most likely problem. At this point it is essential to understand that burning fuels do produce trace amounts of water when burning. And whenever water contacts most metals, the metals usually rust. This is also true with flame sensors. The metal end of a flame sensor can rust after a while. The rust accumulates and prevents the flame sensor from producing the current that tells the control board which it detects the flame. The other possible concern is that the flame sensor is now bad. This is usually a cracked insulator or perhaps short in the electrical components. Replacement is suggested for a bad flame sensor.

If you think you may have a problem with your furnace,

call The HVAC Guy at Alexander Heating and Air Conditioning.

For Quick,  Honest and Affordable  heating system services.

1-919-886-HVAC (4822)