How To Check Ac Capacitor

How to Check AC Capacitor

If you own an air conditioning unit, you will know how important the capacitor is to its smooth functioning. The capacitor is responsible for starting the compressor and the fan motor. However, over time, it may wear out or malfunction. This can hamper the efficiency of your AC unit. So, it is essential to know how to check AC capacitor. Here are some simple steps to help you do that.

Step 1: Turn Off the Power

Before you begin, make sure that you turn off the power to your AC unit. This is important to avoid any accidents or injuries. You can do this by turning off the circuit breaker or the disconnect switch located near the unit.

Step 2: Locate the Capacitor

The capacitor is a small cylindrical device usually located near the compressor or the fan motor. It is usually silver or gray in color and has two or three terminals. You may need to remove the access panel to locate it.

Step 3: Discharge the Capacitor

Before you touch the capacitor, it is important to discharge it to avoid any electrical shock. You can do this by using an insulated screwdriver and touching the terminals of the capacitor together.

Step 4: Check for Swelling or Leaks

Visually inspect the capacitor for any signs of swelling, leaks, or bulges. If you notice any of these signs, it may be time to replace the capacitor.

Step 5: Check the Capacitance

Using a multimeter, set it to measure capacitance. Touch the probes to the terminals of the capacitor and take a reading. Compare this reading to the manufacturer’s specifications. If the reading is significantly lower than the recommended value, the capacitor needs to be replaced.

Step 6: Check the Voltage

Using a multimeter, set it to measure voltage. Touch the probes to the terminals of the capacitor and take a reading. The reading should be close to the rated voltage of the capacitor. If it is significantly lower, the capacitor may be faulty.

Step 7: Check for Continuity

Using a multimeter, set it to measure continuity. Touch the probes to the terminals of the capacitor and take a reading. If there is no continuity, it means the capacitor is faulty and needs to be replaced.

Step 8: Check the Fan Motor

If the fan motor is not working, it may be due to a faulty capacitor. To check this, first, turn off the power to the unit. Then, remove the wires from the capacitor and touch them together. If the fan starts running, it means the capacitor is faulty and needs to be replaced.

Step 9: Check the Compressor

If the compressor is not working, it may be due to a faulty capacitor. To check this, first, turn off the power to the unit. Then, locate the wires going to the compressor and remove them from the capacitor. Touch the wires together and turn on the power. If the compressor starts running, it means the capacitor is faulty and needs to be replaced.

FAQs related to How to Check AC Capacitor:

Q: What is a capacitor?

A: A capacitor is an electrical device that stores electric charge. It is used to start the compressor and the fan motor in an AC unit.

Q: How do I know if my capacitor is bad?

A: You can visually inspect the capacitor for any signs of swelling, leaks, or bulges. You can also use a multimeter to check the capacitance, voltage, and continuity of the capacitor.

Q: Can I replace the capacitor myself?

A: If you have some knowledge of electrical systems, you can replace the capacitor yourself. However, it is recommended to hire a professional to avoid any accidents or injuries.

Q: How often do I need to check the capacitor?

A: It is recommended to check the capacitor at least once a year, preferably before the start of the cooling season.

Q: What happens if I don’t replace a faulty capacitor?

A: A faulty capacitor can cause the compressor or the fan motor to stop working. This can reduce the efficiency of your AC unit and increase your energy bills. It can also cause damage to other components of the unit.

Conclusion

Checking the capacitor is an essential part of maintaining your AC unit. By following these simple steps, you can easily check the capacitor and ensure the smooth functioning of your AC unit. If you are unsure about any of these steps, it is recommended to hire a professional to avoid any accidents or injuries.