Talking About Air Ventilation Systems

How To Diagnose A Blown AC Capacitor

On the hottest summer days, your AC system will be under severe stress. In some cases, the stress can overwhelm the system, and you can end up with a broken unit just when you need it the most. If you know what the tell-tale signs of a blown capacitor are, you can possibly make repairs on your own or at least expedite the repairs a professional makes. 

What Is a Capacitor?

A capacitor is a small electronic device that stores excess electricity. The motor that runs an AC fan has enough power to run a fan once it is moving, but not enough to get it started in the first place. The capacitor releases the power it has stored to kick start your fan motor when it first turns on. Hot weather can strain the capacitor to the point that it bursts.

What Are the Symptoms of a Blown Capacitor?

If your AC unit begins to blow hot air, go out to your condenser unit and see if the fan motor is moving. If it is not, reach inside the condenser with a long-handled screwdriver and try to push start the fan blade. If it starts moving, you have a blown capacitor. 

How to Make Repairs

If you know what you are doing, you might consider making repairs yourself. You will first need to turn off the breaker that governs your AC unit. You will then need to remove the protective grate that covers your unit. Locate the blown capacitor. It will look like a pop can with wires coming out of it. A blown capacitor will look like it is leaking. Remove it, take it to your local electrical wholesale store, and use it to buy a new one. You can then replace the one you pulled out of your unit, put the grate back on, and turn the power back on to your unit. 

Replacing a blown capacitor does not require a degree in electrical engineering, but it does require some skill with wiring. If you know what you are doing, you can save yourself some money by doing the repair yourself. On the other hand, if you are worried that you will mess something up with your system, you should leave the repair to the professionals. Make sure you tell them that the capacitor is the problem so that they can make sure to stock their repair truck accordingly. More about this topic can be found here.