How To Diagnose A Non-working Capacitor?

The summer heat is ait’s peak. The vacation is going start next week. The kids are coming over to spend their time in family home this weekend. You are making the last round of arrangements to make the house comfortable. Suddenly the A/c stops working. Amazed at the timing? Well, do not panic. Sometimes the cause lays in a very minor problem which can be resolved fast. A little time, a couple of tools easily available in the house, and some instructions could save you a significant amount of money.

A non–functioning air conditioner often results from a faulty capacitor. Capacitor is a small but vital part of air conditioner. They are cylindrical in shape. They store energy and send jolts to start the motor and keep it running. They work with blower motor, compressor, and the outside fan in your air conditioner.

A simple sign of non-working capacitor is that your air conditioner will make a humming sound but the fans will not work. In such condition take a stick and try to spin the fan. If the fan starts spinning then you have a bad start capacitor. The capacitor provides the boost to the fan motor to start up. It possesses power in a roll of electrically charged sheets of material. It gives the fan electrical kick in the pants to start up. The fans cannot work just with meagre 120 volts that the motor provides it. The stick did the job of the start capacitor. A capacitor is generally damaged due to the summer heat or due to overheating of the motor.

A weakened capacitor attached to a compressor will lead to a condition called “hard starting”. In such cases the A/c will struggle to turn on and then shut off again soon after. This puts immense pressure on compressor and the other parts of the AC. This should be taken care of ASAP.

How to test a capacitor?

• If you want to test the capacitor yourself, do so by turning off the air conditioner. Remember, capacitors can store an electric charge (like a battery). Discharge the capacitor by shorting between capacitor terminals with a screwdriver. Now remove the wires from the terminals. Set the multimeter meter to read above 10k and 1m ohms. Connect the leads of the multimeter to the corresponding leads on the capacitor, red to positive and black to negative. The meter should start at zero and then moving slowly toward infinity. If it is doing so it is fine. Otherwise it is faulty and needs to be replaced.

• An indicative sign of a blown is its shape. A blown capacitor will have its top pushed up or swollen.l

Disclaimer: Although these are the typical methods used to troubleshoot a non-working capacitor. They can vary from place. Please consult the professional service provider as the details are for information purposes.





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