Residential HVAC units consist of many parts that work together to ensure that the air conditioner in your home runs properly. Unfortunately, components and parts can break down and cause you air conditioner to no longer run as it should. During the summer months, one of the most common air conditioning problems is a faulty capacitor. A capacitor is a device that stores power and then supplies the power to the fan when needed. If the capacitor is not working, the fan in the HVAC unit will not be able to start up. Some common signs that you have a failing capacitor that needs to be replaced include:
If you begin to notice that your air conditioner is running oddly, take the time to inspect the outdoor HVAC unit. When inspecting the unit, pay careful attention to how the area around the unit smells. If you happen to notice any burning odors, it often means that the capacitor inside the unit is on its last legs and will need to be replaced in the very near future.
Visible Damage to Capacitor
It is possible to visually inspect your HVAC unit's capacitor by removing the panel that covers the electrical components. Before doing this, it is very important to turn off the circuit breaker for the HVAC unit to ensure that their is no power running to it. Then look for the capacitor, which is a small, cylinder-shaped object. If you notice that the capacitor is cracked or bulging, you will need to have it replaced before it fails completely.
Fluid Oozing from Capacitor
Even if you do not see any cracks or bulges on your HVAC unit's capacitor, it could still be faulty. Carefully look for any signs of fluid oozing from the area of the capacitor or covering parts of the circuit board. The presence of fluid from the capacitor means that it is leaking and will not be able to transmit power for much longer. The best thing you can do is contact an HVAC company to replace the faulty capacitor.
A/C Blowing Warm Air
When you hear the fan in your home turn on and start blowing on a hot summer day, you naturally expect cold air to come from the vents. In the event that your air conditioner runs for a few minutes but only warm air is coming out could indicate a problem with the capacitor. Go outside and see if your outdoor HVAC unit is running; if the fan is not spinning you may have warm air blowing because the capacitor can't power on the HVAC unit so it can produce cold air.
Contact an air conditioning repair tech for more help.