Most small value capacitors are simple sandwiches of conductor and insulator and when the voltage exceeds the dielectric strength of the insulation, they short out and burn, crack, pop, open, or smoke. Explosions are rare for these. Popping open is more likely. Their failure is self evident either visually or by failure to function in the circuit.
How A Blown Capacitor can Lead to an Air Conditioner Breakdown
When a cooling cycle begins, the start capacitors are used to provide an extra boost to those motors to help them start up right away. After each motor is running adequately, the start capacitors turn off and another set of capacitors, the run capacitors, are used to continuously provide extra energy whenever the motors need an extra boost. This helps ease the load on your air conditioner’s various motors while allowing them to run consistently.
How to Tell if the Capacitor is Bad on Your AC Unit
There are some bad AC capacitor symptoms to look for. Observe the condition of the outer shiny metal container that protects the inner workings of the capacitor. If it bulges at the top, the capacitor is defective. If the container is cracked or leaking, it is bad.
Capacitors Are a Common Cause of Air Conditioning Breakdowns
If the A-C is humming but the fan is not turning, find yourself a long skinny stick. Gently slide the stick through the fan grate and give one of the fan blades a gentle push, to see if the fan will spin. If the fan takes off on its own and keeps going, you very likely have a bad start capacitor.
If you’re the type of person who likes to try to troubleshoot problems on your own, you’re in good company. This is why there are so many DIY websites and YouTube videos. While it’s good to learn how to do basic repairs around the home, keep in mind that for more complex issues, it is infinitely safer (for you and for your air conditioner) to contact an HVAC professional.
How to Troubleshoot an Electric Motor Capacitor Problem
The capacitors are a frequently overlooked but extremely important component of your HVAC system. Keeping them in good working order through preventive maintenance and timely service will help to prevent summer breakdowns and more expensive repairs. Take care of your capacitors, and they’ll take care of you.
How Does a Bad Capacitor Effect Air Conditioning?
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In the illustration above imagine you have a wheel and a stick. The wheel and stick on the left you are going to push straight down. Or apply pressure straight down on the wheel. How easy do you think it will be to turn that wheel by pushing straight down on it? Now see the illustration on the right. Imagine you put the stick at an angle and then push the wheel.