How to Diagnose and Repair Your Air Conditioner (A/C) Capacitor

Updated on April 26, 2018
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Dan has been in the HVAC industry for 22 years with experience ranging from installation and service to sales and distribution.

What's Wrong With Your Air Conditioner?

A capacitor usually resembles a tin can or 9-volt battery.
A capacitor usually resembles a tin can or 9-volt battery. | Source

Capacitors Are a Common Cause of Air Conditioning Breakdowns

Luckily, you can often replace them yourself.

So it's a hot day in the summer sun. The family is coming over this weekend and you're very busy making all the necessary arrangements, when suddenly the A/C quits working. Perfect timing, right?

Well, before you call the local HVAC technician to come fix the unit, and re-allocate the money you were going to spend on burgers, take a quick look. Perhaps you're about to luck out by making a simple repair that will only cost you a few dollars and take very little time. It's also helpful to find out whether your air conditioner is still under warranty, in case you want to replace it later on.

If you need to fix it right away, you won't need any specialty tools, and you may not have to rearrange your entire day. Just a few minutes, a couple of tools you likely have around the house, and these instructions could save you a significant amount of money while keeping your family gathering right on track.

What Is a Capacitor?

Capacitors are small cylindrical objects that store energy. They either send a jolt to start a motor or send jolts to keep a motor running. They work with the compressor, the blower motor, and the outside fan in your air conditioner.

Checking Your Air Conditioning Capacitor

A voltmeter, if you have one, can tell you if you have blown a capacitor, but it’s even simpler to find out just by watching and listening. Take a walk outside to your condensing unit, and look and listen for the following:

  1. Do you hear any humming?
  2. Do you see the fan spinning?

If the A/C is humming but the fan is not running, you may have a capacitor problem.

A Simple Trick to Test if the Capacitor Is Working

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.

You see, the capacitor is there to give a boost to the fan motor upon startup. A capacitor stores power in a roll of electrically charged sheets of material.

When the capacitor is called to action, it is supposed to release its energy and give the fan a sort of electrical kick in the pants. If the capacitor is shot, the fan can't quite get going from just the 120 volts the motor supplies to it. You and your stick just took over the job of the start capacitor.

There are a few things that could have caused your capacitor to blow. The heat of summer plus motor heat could have proven to be too much for the part, or it could be something else.

Below I'll go over how to fix this problem yourself.

Does this sound like what's going on with your A/C?

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Quick Overview: How to Replace an A/C Capacitor Yourself

Step
Detail
1. Turn off the power to the unit at the disconnect or breaker panel.
Do not proceed if you do not know how to do this.
2. Find and inspect the capacitor.
Remove the service panel, locate the start capacitor, and check to see if it's mishapen.
3. Discharge the power of the capacitor.
Be very careful in this step — watch the video below for details.
4. Dismount the old capacitor.
It should be simple to unscrew the metal band holding it in.
5. Note down how the wires connect.
Do this before you remove them!
6. Disconnect the wires.
You can remove them with needle-nosed pliers.
7. Choose a replacement.
Know the micro-farads (μF) and the voltage rating, or the make and model of A/C
8. Buy a replacement and attach.
Check your local contractor supply store.
See below for more detailed information and pictures.

1. Start by Turning Off the Power

First of all make sure you know how to turn off power to your air conditioner. Don’t proceed if you do not.

  • Turn off the power to the unit at the disconnect or breaker panel, which should be mounted on the outside of the house within a few feet of the outdoor condensing unit.

The disconnect box for the air conditioner.  The cover opens easily.
The disconnect box for the air conditioner. The cover opens easily. | Source
On this particular disconnect, pulling the handle cuts the power and exposes the fuses.
On this particular disconnect, pulling the handle cuts the power and exposes the fuses. | Source

2. Finding and Inspecting the Capacitor

After you have turned off the power at the disconnect:

  1. Remove the service panel on the A/C unit itself.
  2. Locate the start capacitor. (It's most likely silver, round or oval, and with multiple prongs on the top for wire connections.)
  3. Look at the capacitor surface where the prongs are attached, and ask yourself: does this surface look raised or domed?

One tell-tale sign that a capacitor is shot is its shape. When a capacitor blows, at least 95% of the time its top will be pushed up or swollen, somewhat resembling a pop can that has been dropped and is ready to explode when given the chance. Is this what you see? If so, this is good news, and we'll have you back up and running in no time.

It may not be pretty, but there's my capacitor.
It may not be pretty, but there's my capacitor. | Source

3. Discharging the Power in the Capacitor

You've already shut off power to the air conditioner, but now you will have to discharge the power in the capacitor.

WARNING: As I mentioned, a capacitor stores power. That has not changed because you've shut off the flow of electric current. The capacitor may still have power ready to fire. Touching two of the terminals at the same time with your hand will discharge this power and make for a shocking experience. Throwing away a capacitor that hasn't been discharged could cause a fire in your trash can. Before you continue, discharge your capacitor by placing an insulated-handle screwdriver across the terminals, as shown in the video below.

Video: Discharging a Capacitor

4. Dismounting the Old Capacitor

Now that your old capacitor has been discharged, you can remove it. This is very simple. The capacitor is likely mounted to the unit by a metal band that has only one screw to remove. Remove that screw and the capacitor should come loose from the unit itself.

One screw and it's out.
One screw and it's out. | Source

5. Noting Down How the Wires Connect

Before you remove the wires from the old capacitor, be sure to make a diagram or label showing what wire goes where.

Different colored wires go to different terminals.  This capacitor is good, so the top is flat, but if it were broken the area around the terminals would likely be raised like a shaken pop can.
Different colored wires go to different terminals. This capacitor is good, so the top is flat, but if it were broken the area around the terminals would likely be raised like a shaken pop can. | Source
You can draw a picture showing where the different colored wires will connect to your replacement capacitor.
You can draw a picture showing where the different colored wires will connect to your replacement capacitor.

6. Disconnecting the Old Capacitor

Once you're sure where the wires will connect to the new capacitor, you can remove the wires using a simple pair of needle-nosed pliers. If the wires are tight, try not to just yank on them; use a rocking motion while pulling slowly. This will help keep you from touching another terminal, or possibly having the pliers slip and hit you in the face. Don't laugh, I've watched it happen.

That's it. Now all you need to do is obtain the right replacement part and re-install it just as you removed this one.

7. Choosing a Replacement

There are a couple of things you'll want to know when shopping for your new capacitor: the micro-farads (μF) and the voltage rating. The shape and size of the capacitor aren't really important as they can vary and still do the job. Even your mounting bracket will probably bend to accommodate a part of a different shape. Just know that you have to match the micro-farad number exactly. The voltage rating does not have to be identical, as it shows the amount of voltage the capacitor can see, not what it has to see; this means that if you need to you can use a capacitor with a slightly higher voltage rating than what you have now.

Your μF and voltage will be marked on your capacitor and will likely read something similar to 35/5 μF and 370V. If they are not written down, write down the make and model of your air conditioning unit, and use that information at the store or online to find the correct replacement part.

Lastly, brand is not important here. A capacitor is a pretty universal part, and should be available at your local contractor supply company, though maybe not at a Home Depot or Lowe's.

A capacitor for a residential-sized unit should be relatively cheap, and you may consider buying a second one for backup while you are there, along with a couple of spare time-delay fuses (but be sure to buy the right size fuse). In the heat of the summer, blown capacitors and fuses are a very common cause of air conditioner breakdowns. If you suspect fuses are the problem, it is easy to learn how to replace air conditioning fuses.

Air Conditioning Maintenance Tips

I hope this was the answer to your A/C problem and that you were able to obtain and replace the part without any hang up for your family get-together.

The heat of the summer sun, added to the heat hard-working motors normally generate, can be tough on our air conditioners, because hot electrical components break down more easily. So it's not surprising a part may fail on a hot day when you need it the most.

Keeping up on your A/C maintenance can help prevent these types of breakdowns. Keeping your air conditioner's coils clean and your air filter cleaned or changed when needed can keep the running temperature of your unit down, thus helping to keep your own temperature down when the summer comes calling.

For those with window units, when winter time comes around, you might want to remove the unit and store it somewhere to protect it from frost, dirt, and debris.

Thanks for stopping by, and again, I hope this helped you and saved you money.


Questions & Answers

  • I replaced my capacitor, but the fan still does not spin even if I do it manually. All I hear is a click from the unit when I turn it on. Thoughts?

    If that’s all you’re getting it sounds like a power problem. Perhaps a tripped breaker, blown fuse in the disconnect, or maybe a bad contactor. That’s what I’d be looking at. I have written articles on these issues that might help make that determination.

  • After my A/C froze up, I was told to change the thermostat. After that was done the unit was put back on and there was a humming noise from inside the house but no air was blowing out of the vents, yet the unit outside was up and running. What may be my problem?

    If your outdoor unit motor locked up (froze) and you have indoor motor issues, I'm inclined to say you had some sort of power surge because the 2 units are on separate circuits so nothing the outdoor did would cause the indoor to have an issue electrically. If you mean "froze" as in ice then the indoor motor probably wasn't blowing to begin with and is why it iced up. The ac requires air flow over/through the evaporator coil or it will freeze up and so can/will the copper lines between the two units.

  • I was just charged $208.00 to have my capacitor replaced. Did I get ripped off?

    I wouldn't say ripped off, but it seems a bit higher than the going rate in my area. That said, HVAC service costs are being driven up by many outside factors. If it worked and they back their work, then I wouldn't feel too bad. The biggest issue in the industry are those paying these prices and not reaching a resolution,

© 2012 Dan Robbins

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    • Cre8tor profile imageAUTHOR

      Dan Robbins 

      3 days ago from Ohio

      Christa, It sounds like the motor is going/gone bad but that would be hard to say for sure without being there to run electrical tests. Based on the given information that's about all I can offer. You may want to call a tech.

    • profile image

      Christa 

      4 days ago

      My ac unit outside is only making a humming sound and the fan is not working when turned on. Last week it was making a horrible screeching sound while it was running and the fan would stop and go but now the fan won't work at all. Please help

    • Cre8tor profile imageAUTHOR

      Dan Robbins 

      5 days ago from Ohio

      Amanda - Most of the time this is a result of a dirty filter (or other cause of low airflow) or a low refrigerant charge. The filter is easy for you to check but if it's clean then you'll likely need a technician to check for other issues.

    • profile image

      Amanda 

      6 days ago

      My a/c keeps freezing up. Inside and out.

      What could be causing that?

    • Cre8tor profile imageAUTHOR

      Dan Robbins 

      2 weeks ago from Ohio

      Carley0219 - While I can't say that for certain, it certainly didn't help and was a bad idea if they left the unit on. I've done roofing and we did the same thing but we always pulled the disconnect and warned the homeowner that we had to shut down the unit temporarily. High heat is one of the most common causes of component failure so when the unit is covered and running, it can't disperse the heat it needs to.

    • profile image

      carley0219@aol.com 

      2 weeks ago

      My daughters roofers covered her air conditioner on a 90 degree day and then it stopped working, and the air conditioner repair man had install a new capacitor. Do you think covering the unit caused the problem?

    • Cre8tor profile imageAUTHOR

      Dan Robbins 

      3 weeks ago from Ohio

      Michael, It seems as if you've run out of refrigerant or the refrigerant isn't pumping. You're correct in noticing this being wrong but I can't be sure of the cause without being there and running tests however if it's all acting like it's working and this is your result, it usually means you're low on refrigerant. That would also mean there is a leak so I'd be sure the leak is repaired prior to spending a bunch of money on adding refrigerant...especially if it's R22. That is worth more than gold at this point so we don't want to waste it. That said, if you have a leak in an R22 system and the repair cost is substantial, I would strongly advise the consideration of a new system as opposed to throwing good money after bad.

    • profile image

      Michael 

      3 weeks ago

      My central air unit turns on when switched on; however, instead of the unit fan blowing hot air outside, it feels cool, and the air coming out of the vents in the house isn't cold. Any thoughts on why it seems to be running in reverse?

    • Cre8tor profile imageAUTHOR

      Dan Robbins 

      4 weeks ago from Ohio

      McClain - Your motor might be bad? Or the fuses perhaps? I really can't say without running some tests if this hasn't worked. You may need to call a technician.

    • profile image

      McClain07 

      4 weeks ago

      Hello.. My fan stopped running on the outside unite. I can hear the system running on the inside. I can also hear it try to come on the outside, but it doesnt. I reset the breaker.. Nothing. Air comes out the vents but its not cold. I tried the stick to move the fan but i dont hear a motor or anything.. Just only inside... Please help

    • Cre8tor profile imageAUTHOR

      Dan Robbins 

      5 weeks ago from Ohio

      fbattle - I'm shocked that Carrier couldn't tell you this. With a model and serial number they should be able to tell you what screw holds the top on. There is no reason they couldn't tell you this. I would try again or find out who in your area is selling Carrier to the installers and they should be able to tell you. The motor may have it's capacitance marked on the rating plate but I'm not sure your compressor will.

    • profile image

      fbattle 

      5 weeks ago

      When the capacitor went out last summer, the serviceman didn’t have the right capacitor on the truck, but said he could put a different capacitor on temporarily so we could have cool air and then would return later with the correct capacitor. He never returned as far as we know. I have not been able to find anybody, including Carrier technical support, who can tell me the specs for the original capacitor. Is there a way to find it from the model/size?

    • Cre8tor profile imageAUTHOR

      Dan Robbins 

      5 weeks ago from Ohio

      Anthony - You may want to check out the contactor. I see your other question about pushing with a stick as well and if you're hearing clicking and the stick trick didn't help you diagnose, it may be the contactor is weak or fried and not allowing power to the unit. The clicking may be it attempting to connect but not quite getting it. Perhaps this will help you make that determination. https://dengarden.com/appliances/Air-Conditioning-...

    • profile image

      Anthony 

      5 weeks ago

      Don’t know where clicking noise is coming from fan or compressor when ever I turn the ac unit on.

    • Cre8tor profile imageAUTHOR

      Dan Robbins 

      6 weeks ago from Ohio

      The indoor blower also has a capacitor. Have you tried that?

    • profile image

      Ulises 

      6 weeks ago

      Hey I have a problem with my ac I have a heat pump. The problem is when the ac stars the fan that go outside works but the fan that blows air to the house trough the air vents not working. But sometimes it works this is killing me. That means sometimes work and sometimes it work .. what could be the problem?? Help

    • Cre8tor profile imageAUTHOR

      Dan Robbins 

      6 weeks ago from Ohio

      Theresa - I'm really not sure if you have an issue or not. All I can say is it's been a very hot summer where I am and so is mine. Perhaps the insulation, doors, windows, etc...are dated and the home is not holding temp as well as it once did. This is very common but again, you are not alone if you're having the kind of summer I am.

    • Cre8tor profile imageAUTHOR

      Dan Robbins 

      6 weeks ago from Ohio

      Jane - I'm really not sure what a code 89 is but Honeywell does have a tech support hotline and website. customer.honeywell.com In the meanwhile you could bypass the stat and tie the red, yellow, and green wires together to make the a/c work if the stat is the only problem. Just REMEMBER TO UNTIE THEM TO TURN IT OFF. You can only do this for about 5-10 minutes at a time with breaks in between. Maybe keep a separate temperature gauge near so you know what the temp is. This makes you the thermostat and if you forget to do the thermostats job you could damage your whole system.

    • Cre8tor profile imageAUTHOR

      Dan Robbins 

      6 weeks ago from Ohio

      Leyotuar - There would be a lot of possibilities. If you lost power then it's possible there was a surge when it kicked back on and that can sometimes take out more than one component or affect it's performance at least. You might want to have a tech check this out for you because there could be a situation where one part gets replaced and reveals another issue making it very hard for me to offer any sound advice.

    • profile image

      Leyotuar 

      6 weeks ago

      Hi Dan-I went out of town and turned my unit up to 78. When I returned I have little to no air flow from my vents. My kids told me there were several pretty nasty t storms though the week. I have the same amount of air flow on cool and heat settings. When I turn unit off then back on all I hear is a click sound coming from the outside unit. I tried to spin fan blade and nothing.

    • profile image

      Jane 

      7 weeks ago

      My AC honeywell thormsta has error code 89 . And we can't turn on the AC system. What is the problem?

    • profile image

      Theresa 

      7 weeks ago

      My AC unit seems to run most of the time even when it reads the proper temperature on the thermostat it still seems to run I have changed The thermostat twice and both times it seems to do the same thing any helpers

    • Cre8tor profile imageAUTHOR

      Dan Robbins 

      7 weeks ago from Ohio

      Kaelynn - While I can't say for sure what's happening you may want to consider the contactor as a suspect. If the contacts are charred or the coil in it is going bad perhaps it's not getting a good connection and causing it to be intermittent while the indoor unit is unaffected. DO NOT MESS WITH THIS if you are not confident in your electrical skills. https://dengarden.com/appliances/Air-Conditioning-...

    • profile image

      Kaelynn W 

      7 weeks ago

      Our AC unit was working fine until our outside fan stopped working one day last week. My husband got it to go by starting it manually with a long screw driver. We thought we were good. A few days later it happened again. We replaced the capacitor. The fan now works intermittently...runs for a while and then randomly stops (I check when the air is not cold anymore). Then I turn it off and leave it off for a while. It usually starts back up. Could the new capacitor be bad? Could it be something else?

      And we are not getting very good output of air from our vents. Is there something inside we need to replace? A different capacitor? We have cleaned the inside and outside coils. Nothing Ian freezing up with ice. And the outside unit was super hot when I turned all started.

    • Cre8tor profile imageAUTHOR

      Dan Robbins 

      8 weeks ago from Ohio

      Mary Lou - You would need to know they put in the right capacitor and installed it properly. If so, then I can't see that being any cause of that. Perhaps a lightning strike? Any signs of that? A power surge can sometimes cause damage as well when power goes out and is restored.

    • profile image

      Mary Lou 

      8 weeks ago

      I had a capacitor replaced on a Monday evening after my 6 year old AC unit with a 5 year warranty was not blowing any cold air. The AC worked until Saturday evening around 10:00P.M. when I heard a very loud sound and check the unit and the fan was still turning but was very loud. There also happened to be a bad storm going on at the same time. 2 hours later all the power to my house went out and I thought it was due to the storm. I called my utility company (on weekends you do not get a live person) and also tried to switch my house main electric several times,but no power. By Monday it was determined that the AC blew out the power and also that now the compressor was also bad , I was now informed I needed a new AC unit. My question is , the technician that came initially said the compressor was OK on Monday and by Saturday was bad, was the installation of the capacitor the possible cause of the compressor being blown on a 6 year old unit? And if so, how do I prove it to the company that did the repair?

    • Cre8tor profile imageAUTHOR

      Dan Robbins 

      2 months ago from Ohio

      Maureen - That's really up to you but since they are only a few dollars perhaps you can keep one on hand in case it does go. Preventative maintenance is always good though. Better than needing after hours service.

    • profile image

      Maureen 

      2 months ago

      Should I replace a capacitor on a blower that is still running, but at less than full power (tech says it was originally 7.5, now is at 6.72) or do I wait until it stops working completely?

    • Cre8tor profile imageAUTHOR

      Dan Robbins 

      2 months ago from Ohio

      Sara - That is odd and I don't think it's the capacitor either. While I can't say for sure what is causing this I do know that some people with programmable thermostats will sometimes run into a schedule issue that perhaps was accidentally programmed into it and not realized. Maybe check to see if that is the case if you have a programmable stat.

    • profile image

      Sara 

      2 months ago

      I’m in Texas where it’s record heat right now. My ac works fine (set at 76, stays at 76) until 2-4 pm until 11-1 am when it gets all the way up to 85! We have cleaned the coils, hosed it down, etc. someone suggested the capacitor, but it’s working fine in the am! Any ideas what to try

    • Cre8tor profile imageAUTHOR

      Dan Robbins 

      2 months ago from Ohio

      It sounds like you're describing a window or thru the wall a/c unit. If that is the case, it sounds like the compressor is perhaps going bad and while that may not be what you want to hear, those units aren't typically worth the repair vs. replacing the unit. 13 years is pretty impressive though. That was a good unit.

    • profile image

      Alexander Todea 

      2 months ago

      Hi Dan;

      I am running a 13 year old GE in my bedroom, two weeks ago I noticed the compressor starting up only occasionally then no more, I changed the capacitor with a new one. After turning on the fuse and staring the unit, the compressor starts like a charm, when temp is reached it turns off and never on again. Switching off the main fuse and turning it on again after a few minutes and it will do the same thing again, compressor starts once only, no matter the settings...

    • Cre8tor profile imageAUTHOR

      Dan Robbins 

      2 months ago from Ohio

      That could be the problem. If that capacitor blew you could still see all these things work.

    • profile image

      Sean Holland 

      2 months ago

      A/C was cooling properly, however while the condenser fan turns on and the attic unit fan blows air through the ducts, it isn't cool air. Seems as though the compressor isn't running. There are two capacitors located at the outside condenser unit, I presume one for the fan and the larger one for the compressor? Suggestions appreciated

    • Cre8tor profile imageAUTHOR

      Dan Robbins 

      2 months ago from Ohio

      Thank you Jeffrey! You too.

    • Cre8tor profile imageAUTHOR

      Dan Robbins 

      2 months ago from Ohio

      Ricardo - I would. If the capacitance is low it is just a matter of time.

    • profile image

      Jeffrey 

      2 months ago

      Thank you very much, Dan! I really appreciate your input, Keep cool, it's the hottest day of the year.

    • profile image

      Ricardo 

      2 months ago

      An AC tech said my capacitor is rated at 80 but is only operating at 60 and should be replaced. What do you think?

    • profile image

      Jeffrey 

      2 months ago

      Thank you very much, Dan! I really appreciate your input, Keep cool, it's the hottest day of the year.

    • Cre8tor profile imageAUTHOR

      Dan Robbins 

      2 months ago from Ohio

      Jeffery - There isn't much any homeowner can do when the compressor fails. There are a lot of expensive tools and licensing required by the EPA to work on that type of repair. You're probably going to want to call a tech and be prepared. If the compressor is bad, the repair is expensive unless under warranty (in which case the labor still isn't cheap) and if your unit is R22 it's my opinion that repair is not a good idea and time to replace the unit.

    • profile image

      Jeffrey 

      2 months ago

      Hi Dan, my AC quit working. The compressor outside probably stopped working for a few day untill I noticed yesterday because there is no cold air blowing from the venst inside the house. Unlike what you described here, the fan is running and from time to time, the compressor tries to start working (can hear the noise) and quit immediately. Any suggestion? Thanks a lot!

    • Cre8tor profile imageAUTHOR

      Dan Robbins 

      2 months ago from Ohio

      It could cause issues since the rating is not in tolerance. These are not something you can just throw one in and expect it to work correctly. As stated in the article there is a tolerance. If you are not in that tolerance then it is likely you will experience problems. Is that your issue? I can't say for sure but should it be there? No.

    • profile image

      Randall 

      2 months ago

      Would replacing a 40+5 capacitor with a 50+10 cause the condenser fan motor to shut off every 25 minutes while the compressor is still running.

    • Cre8tor profile imageAUTHOR

      Dan Robbins 

      2 months ago from Ohio

      There could be a few different reasons it's doing this so I can't really say which cause and which effect. A/C's have hi temp limits, hi pressure limits, low pressure limits, etc...these are typically triggered when the unit's motor or compressor are working too hard as a result of low air flow, low refrigerant, age,...there are a lot of reasons. The problem is these are usually a replacement type part in themselves. You are usually going to have to address an underlying problem that is causing this (like having the a/c cleaned for better airflow to cool the unit) or the part itself is bad and would have to be replaced. (new motor or compressor) Sorry I can't identify it exactly.

    • profile image

      stephanie gagnon 

      2 months ago

      my ac outside unit cuts off but i can turn off the a/c for 15 minutes and turn it back on and it works fine, what could that be

    • Cre8tor profile imageAUTHOR

      Dan Robbins 

      2 months ago from Ohio

      You'd be supplying too much of a kick to the parts being fed from it. It may even work fine initially but eventually you'll have issues.

    • profile image

      Randall 

      3 months ago

      What happens when you replace a 40+5 capacitor with a 50+10 on an outside split unit

    • Cre8tor profile imageAUTHOR

      Dan Robbins 

      3 months ago from Ohio

      Samantha - Sorry but no I can't say what goes in there. I don't deal in that brand or type of equipment and it's a bit different of a ball game dealing with campers and RV's than homes.

    • profile image

      Samantha 

      3 months ago

      Hi I'm staying in a camper with an air conditioner thats no longer working! The unit is a Coleman TSR and under the cover on the inside is a sticker that reads series 6750 air conditioner! Can you tell me what kind of capacitor it needs so I can tell my friend over the phone that way he can pick one up before he comes to fix it?

    • Cre8tor profile imageAUTHOR

      Dan Robbins 

      3 months ago from Ohio

      Russell Wilson - High amp draws and extreme conditions can cause this to happen but beyond that I really can't say. Sometimes is cheap manufacturing and others there's an underlying issue driving up the electrical draw... The one you just bought should be under warranty however so perhaps you try once more and see if you just got a bad part right out of the box.

    • profile image

      Russell Wilson 

      3 months ago

      Why does the capacitor go out? We replaced one Saturday, two days ago, and it worked like a champ for 3 days. It’s now doing the exact same thing. What should I address next? I appreciate your time and look forward to your response.

    • Cre8tor profile imageAUTHOR

      Dan Robbins 

      3 months ago from Ohio

      Well it could but it wouldn't be anything you can reset yourself. Perhaps try shutting down the unit for a few minutes by shutting down the stat, then the breaker. Leave it sit for a few minutes then turn the breaker back on and then the stat and see if that might reset the switch. (if that is in fact the issue.)

    • profile image

      Kristin 

      3 months ago

      I replaced my capacitor due to the fan not starting up and everything runs outside now, but the air isn’t cooling. I was told there may be a high pressure reset switch but I cant find it...the advice I’m being told is pointing to the compressor not engaging to cool air. Does this make sense?

    • Cre8tor profile imageAUTHOR

      Dan Robbins 

      3 months ago from Ohio

      Check a few of the simpler things like the low voltage wiring. Green and yellow in particular control the a/c (off on - yellow) and fan on (green) check at the stat and the circuit board. Do you know how to test voltage? If so, check at the board that it’s sending power to the fan terminals. It could be a bad motor but it could be simple loose wire or bad board. That’s what I would check first.

    • profile image

      Jerry 

      3 months ago

      Hello Dan,

      First I want to say thanks for all info you providing and answering the questions.

      My outside unit works fine. But inside fan doesn't blow the air in the house. Symptoms point on capacitor which I changed today and nothing. The problem is still here. What would you advise to check next?

      Any input is highly appreciated.

      The AC works itself."tube" is cold. Heat starts only on aux heat for some reason. I dont know if it's related.

      Unplugged every cords and plagged it back in. Fan motor problem? Motor relay? Cup? How do I diagnose what is it?

      Thank you

    • Cre8tor profile imageAUTHOR

      Dan Robbins 

      3 months ago from Ohio

      You're welcome Robert. The capacitor itself should have the information you need written on it. If not, you can find out who the local Nordyne distributor is and give them your model and serial number and they should be able to tell you what's supposed to be in there so you can get the replacement.

    • profile image

      Robert 

      3 months ago

      Very helpful. I attempted the fan blade test and it worked. Now just to locate the capcitor on my FS3BA-036KA..(not located on outside). Thank you Dan!

    • profile image

      fazedbygrace 

      3 months ago

      thank you for your answer, I do understand all what you said, I did some checking and my pan is dry, the capacitor looks ok and both units (bonus room/teen bedroom and main level) fans are working fine, thermostat clicks on, all air is cold from vents (have had leaks in other homes) just not coming out of vents at any kind of force, so I am thinking maybe blower or relay to blower? And I will check my filter but it was just changed in March. thank you for you advice, it is upfront and honest, I appreciate the tips too!!!

    • Cre8tor profile imageAUTHOR

      Dan Robbins 

      3 months ago from Ohio

      fazedbygrace - First, I always recommend making sure the filters are clean. I'm not sure if you're describing that there are 2 systems in the house (one for attic and one for main living) so if there is, it's possible the attic unit ran while the living area did not and thus the difference. Beyond that, leaving the temp up at 82 while you were gone probably allowed a lot of humidity to sink into the home, woodwork, carpets, etc...so it can take a couple/few days for the a/c to first remove the humidity (because that's really what an a/c does) and then once that occurs the temp will begin to drop much faster so perhaps just a little more time is needed. If not, then I would have a tech come and look for a problem. Always be leery when a tech says they need to "top off the refrigerant". That is not something that should ever be necessary unless there is a leak in the system and if there is, it should be repaired or sealed prior to any more refrigerant being added. That is one of the most common "suspicious" diagnosis that I hear people getting. Aside from that, I really can't offer much sound advice without being there. I've written many articles on HVAC however so perhaps reading a few of them can give you a better idea of how systems work, what parts do, and either how to fix them or at least understand better what a tech is saying when he comes out and starts telling you what's wrong. I hope this helps a bit and thank you for reading.

    • profile image

      fazedbygrace 

      3 months ago

      Hello, I found this page by searching for information. I am an older woman with no husband who is determined to not be taken to the cleaners by repairmen thinking I am clueless. 9Has happened over the years many times). So I come home from vacation last night. there were many many storms in our area while I was gone. Power outages occurred. But my homes time keepers were NOT blinking, so I have no idea if my power actually went off. I had set myAC to 82 degrees while gone, and lowered the temp upon return last night. I went to bed, did not notice extra heat, or anything at all other than teenager has bonus room and attic is accessed in that room and he left light on while gone, so I went up to turn it off (and to make sure no one was in my attic), I noticed immediately that it was cooler inside the attic in GA heat than in house and I know that is an unusual occurrence, normally that rooms AC runs continuously depsite temp inside room because the thermostat is on the attic wall and is always hot (separate unit for bonus room). Today did not notice it hot in house, but warm, came back home and felt it was warmer, checked AC, temp setting was on 68 and room temp showed 78. That never happens. Motor is running outside. Not sure of fan, its currenlty 1254 AM amd I am not that brave (coyotes are here), in attic furnace/unit is running but sounds like no air being pushed through vents and vents have cool air but very very little flow. My cousin has always serviced my AC and furnace but he moved to Tampa to his AC business there. When I turn fan only on, no big change in air flow. Im worried abt coils but area is absolutley bone dry (I was concerned abt this as this unit was replaced for this very thing as it had fallen in on previous owners, but all is fine.), So from this information what do you think I could check or just be aware of/suspicious of whats up with my AC if I have to get a service pro out? Thank you in advance for any advice you can give. Iam capable of changing a capacitor via instructions, just unsure about where to start checking currently for options to repair on my own!!!

    • Cre8tor profile imageAUTHOR

      Dan Robbins 

      3 months ago from Ohio

      John B - It could be but that doesn't mean it is. Often, breakdowns will happen after having sat for a season and then the first time it kicks on...whatever was about to happen does. Perhaps a capacitor, fuses, tripped breaker, contactor is dirty...there are a plethora of possible things that could be happening. Unfortunately, just not enough information for me to say much more than that with confidence.

    • profile image

      John B 

      3 months ago

      I turn on my A/C the other day and my furnace blower came on but no noise from outside ? No hum, No fan ? Worked fantastic last year.. Could this be just my capacitor ? Thanks

    • Cre8tor profile imageAUTHOR

      Dan Robbins 

      3 months ago from Ohio

      Siraj - I don't believe your capacitor has anything to do with your issue in this case and I'm not sure there is anything you can do to shorten that restart time. Perhaps unplug the unit for about 30 seconds and then plug it back in and see if that might help.

    • profile image

      Siraj 

      3 months ago

      Hello every one

      I have window ac.. as there is low voltage problem in our area and when there is glitch in voltage my ac compressor just turn off and it almost takes 7 to 9 minutes to start again... is there any problem with the capacitor? I just want to reduce the restarting time of my compressor to 2 or 3 minutes..thanks

    • Cre8tor profile imageAUTHOR

      Dan Robbins 

      3 months ago from Ohio

      Snyteacher - Did they say why they added refrigerant? That shouldn't be necessary unless there is a leak or was never right. There is never a need to add refrigerant without one of those reasons. $100 isn't bad for what was done considering a service call alone is around $80 where I am. i don't think a capacitor is the issue. Maybe there's a short or perhaps your panel is overloading?? There's a pull for too many amps coming from somewhere.

    • profile image

      snyteacher 

      3 months ago

      The fan stops because the breaker keeps tripping at the main panel. The fuses are fine. I had a repairman out here about 1 week ago and they checked everything. I paid $100 for them to turn the breaker back on, add refrigerant and clean the coils and check the fuses. Could it be the capacitor?

    • Cre8tor profile imageAUTHOR

      Dan Robbins 

      3 months ago from Ohio

      sls535 - Well testing for capacitance is the fool proof way but most people don't posses a meter or knowledge for doing so. That said, if the unit is running then the capacitor is not likely the issue. The outdoor unit is supposed to blow warm air if that is what you're referring to. If everything is running seemingly proper and you're still getting warmer air, you may have a refrigerant charge issue but that would require a tech and specialty tools and licensing to test and determine.

    • profile image

      sls535 

      3 months ago

      Hi Dan,

      Thanks for your knowledge and generosity.

      My Lennox dual zone AC unit is blowing warm air. I've checked the capacitor and (unfortunately), I'm not seeing the soda can bubble.

      I know you mentioned that this is a 95% probable sign, but can you provide guidance on determining 100% capacitor reliability?

      thanks again!

    • Cre8tor profile imageAUTHOR

      Dan Robbins 

      3 months ago from Ohio

      Christy Trotter - I'm sorry but there isn't much advice I can offer on this one without running some tests however I can say I do not think it's the stat because whatever it would be telling the outside unit would affect both parts, not just the compressor.

    • profile image

      Christy Trotter 

      3 months ago

      I have a Lennox outside air unit. Ive noticed that my unit kicks on and u can see the fan working. Then the compressor will finally kick on a few seconds after that. Then everything is going fine then all at once the compressor kicks off and then rite back on. It does that a few times. Then finally it will cut off like it should. What could be causing this problem? I was thinking it could be the thermostat.When the compressor is kicking on and off the fan keeps going.

    • Cre8tor profile imageAUTHOR

      Dan Robbins 

      4 months ago from Ohio

      katostein - I'm not sure what it was doing in the first place so it would be hard for me to say what should be different. If replacing the capacitor didn't work then you may have a different issue. Keep in mind the skinny line shouldn't be cool at all. It should be warm. The larger one should be cool or even sweating under certain conditions. If these are not the case then you may have a refrigerant pressure issue and that is not something you can try and remedy yourself.

    • profile image

      katostein 

      4 months ago

      hello i have an older Carrier unit, just replaced the capacitor and a week later it is acting the same way. the outside line is barely cool to touch.

      any ideas??

      thanks!!

    • Cre8tor profile imageAUTHOR

      Dan Robbins 

      4 months ago from Ohio

      Robin - Make sure you try to spin the fan both ways with the stick to ensure you're going in the right direction or it won't spin. Otherwise, you may have a bad fan motor, perhaps bad contact in the contactor (make sure the button/plunger is pulled in all the way...you can push it in with a stick too to see if that is making good contact.) Make sure your fuses aren't blown or the breaker is tripped so that you know you have power because the hum could just be the contactor pulling in that is getting power from the furnace, not the a/c power lines so you can have power from one and not the other. Hope this helps give you a few more things to check and see if you can get it working. Beyond that you'd really need to call a tech out to run tests. Thanks for reading.

    • profile image

      Robin 

      4 months ago

      We noticed the fan in the outside A/C unit isn't turning, and there's a very audible hum coming from the unit, as if it's trying. The air is blowing inside, can't tell if it's cold, but when we give the fan a push with a stick, it doesn't keep turning. (It stops)

      Any ideas??

    • Cre8tor profile imageAUTHOR

      Dan Robbins 

      4 months ago from Ohio

      First, I'll guess capacitor but that's just a hunch. The issue is, why does it keep blowing. I'm assuming they aren't there all day when they fix it and they are just fixing the immediate issue but the fact that this keeps happening, they should be looking for the "why". You should be able to verify your warranty through whomever sells that brand of equipment in your area. Call and give them your serial number (maybe model too) and they should be able to tell you.

    • profile image

      Mark 

      4 months ago

      Every year since I’ve bought the house ( 4yrs) my air goes out st the beginning of summer. It’s been under Warrenty but I don’t think it is anymore. I don’t know what they do when they come out. But it’s symptoms are: it hums and doesn’t start and then I hear a noise like a poof. And then there’s no noise. Any help would greatly be appreciated.

    • Cre8tor profile imageAUTHOR

      Dan Robbins 

      4 months ago from Ohio

      There are capacitors in both. The one inside is for the fan in the air handler/furnace and the one outside is for the heat pump.

    • Cre8tor profile imageAUTHOR

      Dan Robbins 

      5 months ago from Ohio

      Khurram - The problem may be in the motor itself. Perhaps that's why the capacitor went bad in the beginning. You may have to look into a motor but in my experience, window units aren't easy to find parts for and take time to install...be sure to weigh replacing the motor vs. getting a new unit that would have a warranty and likely be more efficient.

    • profile image

      Khurram 

      5 months ago

      Sir i replaced ac compaster window ac o general 2ton but still fan speed is sloe

    • Cre8tor profile imageAUTHOR

      Dan Robbins 

      5 months ago from Ohio

      Sunil - It sounds as if it's short cycling usually meaning the unit is oversized and satisfying the thermostat too fast. Like blowing cold air directly at the stat so it shut off quickly though the home never truly/thoroughly got to cool. Running the fan in "on" mode may help slow that down a bit. I should also say if temperatures are extreme then it could just be that as well.

    • profile image

      sunil 

      5 months ago

      my a/c compressor turns off after every 6.5 mins and again restarts after 15 mins to run again for 6.5 mins

    • Cre8tor profile imageAUTHOR

      Dan Robbins 

      5 months ago from Ohio

      That should not be the case. No.

    • profile image

      Earl 

      5 months ago

      could the outside temp make the compressor too hot before I turn it on it seems to work fine set at 74

    • Cre8tor profile imageAUTHOR

      Dan Robbins 

      5 months ago from Ohio

      Earl - There are a few possible cause here but most require the services of a technician. Compressor repairs aren't something I can walk you through. Thanks for reading and commenting.

    • Cre8tor profile imageAUTHOR

      Dan Robbins 

      6 months ago from Ohio

      Michele, A start kit won't hurt and you can check the capacitor for proper sizing by getting the model number and checking with the local distributor for what should be in it.

    • profile image

      Michele 

      6 months ago

      Since the A/C capacitor was replaced by a repair company whenever my A/C comes on some of my lights dim in the house. I'm thinking it's because the A/C repair tech used the wrong replacement capacitor. He is telling me I need a start kit.

    • Cre8tor profile imageAUTHOR

      Dan Robbins 

      7 months ago from Ohio

      It very well could be and because they are typically very inexpensive can't hurt to try.

    • profile image

      smalz 

      7 months ago

      My compressor does not come on at all. No fan spinning or humming. Could this be the dual run capacitor? I have a york model H1RE030S06D.

    • Cre8tor profile imageAUTHOR

      Dan Robbins 

      7 months ago from Ohio

      I don't know for sure as makes and models vary and LG is not a brand I'm familiar with. It should however be on the capacitor you're removing. Thanks for reading.

    • profile image

      Deepak 

      7 months ago

      I need one capacitor for LG 1.5 ton split ac, kindly suggest right make and model.

    • Cre8tor profile imageAUTHOR

      Dan Robbins 

      8 months ago from Ohio

      Robert - Sounds like you have a short somewhere if it's tripping the breaker. Sorry I can't help more based on this info.

    • profile image

      Robert Lovelace 

      8 months ago

      Unit turns on and trips breaker stew minutes later?

    • Cre8tor profile imageAUTHOR

      Dan Robbins 

      9 months ago from Ohio

      Mark, Thanks for sharing your results. Hope I was of some help to you.

    • profile image

      Mark GG 

      9 months ago

      Dan - thanks for your quick response!

      After more research, I have now discovered that my unit does not have a "start kit". (Apparently, manufacturers stopped putting them in a/c compressor units to save on cost!)

      That's why I only have the one (dual run) capacitor, for running only.

      I have now ordered a "hard start kit", which should both reduce the amps required to start the compressor (the LRA value), but also extend its life.

    • Cre8tor profile imageAUTHOR

      Dan Robbins 

      9 months ago from Ohio

      Mark GG - That's what's referred to as a dual capacitor. It's used for both the compressor and fan and they share the common.

    • profile image

      Mark GG 

      9 months ago

      This is a great article, Dan! Very clear and concise.

      Looking at the interior of my a/c's compressor/fan unit, I have noticed that it only has ONE run capacitor, with a dual 35+5 rating (i.e. 35 for the compressor and 5 the fan).

      I don't see a start capacitor anywhere in the unit.

      Is that possible?

    • profile image

      Sajjad Rasheed 

      11 months ago

      Hi Dan

      I have purchased second hand Vertical Air condition of about .75 ton , but after few days it is tripping again and again, when ever the compressor starts after few minutes of Fan running it goes trip showing an error " E C ".

      Thank you in advance for helping.

    • Cre8tor profile imageAUTHOR

      Dan Robbins 

      11 months ago from Ohio

      Billy - It would be hard for me to say from here but it sounds like some sort of overload or limit is tripping and time allows it to reset. Which and why are questions you'd need a tech to trouble shoot. Thanks for reading.

    • profile image

      Billy 

      11 months ago

      My a/c runs and cools fine, however when it reaches it's desired temp it won't come back on. The blower will but not the compressor. If I want until the next day it will run perfect until it shuts off and won't come again until the next day what could this be?

    • profile image

      Mark 

      11 months ago

      This worked perfectly. My fan was very hot, humming, and not moving. I was occasionally able to get it running, but only for a short time. This worked perfectly and saved me about $600.

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