Thursday, June 13, 2013

Fix your Home A/C for $35.00, Bad Motor Run Capacitor

Hi All,

It happened again! My home air conditioning stopped working at 4:00am last night in the middle of one of the hottest summers in the desert Southwest! I had visions of $300 - $500 repair bills dancing in my head. The first time my A/C stopped working was due to bad bearings in the condenser fan motor. I figures this out by listening to what I couldn't hear and it was the fan motor turning on. The symptom was the A/C starting and then stopping.

Last night the A/C was running but was luke warm at best. I once again went out to the condenser and listened to what I couldn’t hear and it was the loud refrigerator noise that comes from the compressor/condenser. I did a quick google search and found a forum that talked about a bad motor run capacitor for the condenser. I took the cover off of the condenser motor/fan unit located outdoors and started looking for the capacitor. I of course pulled the quick disconnect power plug that runs four lines of 125VAC to the unit and verified with my voltmeter that I had zero voltage at the four lines. Here is a picture of the capacitor as it looked in the unit.

Bad Motor Run Capacitor for a Heil A/C Condenser

I also built and repaired a lot of computers in the past and one of the most common motherboard failures is a blown capacitor or two. Corrosion and a bulged top are dead give-aways to a bad capacitor. I must admit that I almost gave up and called a repair person but I started going through troubleshooting and my thinking was that the freon leaked out but I didn't think that was likely since the A/C was just working last night. The fear of a $500 repair bill forced me into doing more google research. A big thank you to the local Summit Electric who were able to locate me a replacement capacitor! Here is a picture of the old capacitor compared to the new capacitor.

New Capacitor compared to the old Capacitor.

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