When it comes to the most important parts of an air conditioner, the evaporator and condenser are the ones that a lot of aircon owners are familiar with.
But rarely do they recognize another equally important part — the aircon capacitor. This part is a simple but essential mechanism in an air conditioner that requires proper care and maintenance to keep the entire machine running.
Simply put, if the aircon capacitor is not maintained correctly, serious problems could arise in your unit and you might find yourself without a cooling system in the midst of a hot summer afternoon.
Read on to find out more about the aircon capacitor and how to care for it.
What Is An Aircon Capacitor?
The aircon capacitor is an electronic component inside an aircon unit designed to store charge in an electrostatic field. In simpler terms, this means it functions as a temporary storage device for electricity. The capacitor is used to stabilize voltage and start the motors in your cooling system.
The aircon capacitor is also necessary for the aircon to run, as the motors inside your air conditioner unit are powered by the capacitor. Singapore-made air conditioners, for example, usually come with three motors, and all three of these are powered by the capacitor.
Think about it this way: if the capacitor isn’t functioning right, then your air conditioner either won’t function at all, or will function less than efficiently.
In short, a broken or busted aircon capacitor could spell the slow and steady doom of your unit. In fact, most aircon capacitor failures always result in air conditioner breakdowns.
What Causes Aircon Capacitor Failure?
Most cases of aircon capacitor failure are almost always due to running the machine for an extended, uninterrupted period of time. This is a common problem in a tropical country like Singapore, where the climate often leaves the temperature warm and humid. The hot outdoor temperatures, combined with machine overuse, could result in your aircon capacitor malfunctioning from overexertion.
So how can you check if your capacitor and aircon machine is running into this problem? It’s quite simple. Be on the lookout for any loud humming sound when the machine is in use — especially when the fan isn’t turned on. But if you want to be extra sure, it’s recommended that you call a service professional to conduct a maintenance and check-up test on your unit.
How to Repair an Aircon Capacitor
If you’re planning to DIY your aircon capacitor repair, here’s a simple step-by-step guide to take you through the process. However, since the capacitor is located in the intricate panel of an aircon unit, we recommend getting an aircon servicing expert or an aircon technician to repair it for you instead:
1. Turn off the condenser
The condenser is in the outdoor unit of the air conditioner. Put some protective equipment on to protect yourself from potential electrical sparks and then reach for the condenser to turn it off. Test it to ensure that there is no more power in it.
2. Open access panel
Once you’re sure that there is no more power left in the condenser, find the access panel. The access panel normally has an electrical warning on it. Loosen the screws with a screwdriver to open it.
3. Get a new capacitor
After opening the access panel, you should be able to spot the broken or busted capacitor. It’s normally shaped like a can and has a sticker on it. It’s necessary that you inspect this sticker and write down the technical data of the capacitor, such as its load voltage, tolerance, etc.
4. Check the connections of the old capacitor
Before taking out the old capacitor completely and buying a new capacitor, take a picture of the old capacitor in its place. You’ll need to know how it's connected to other components of the air conditioner, and re-connect them in the same way once you’ve installed the new capacitor.
5. Connecting the new capacitor to the air conditioner
First, disconnect all wires from the ruined capacitor. Then, using the picture of the old capacitor still connected to its wires, install the new capacitor and connect all wires to its respective spots. Don’t rush this process and make sure to do it slowly. Double check every wire to see if you’ve installed them in the right place.
You can also disconnect one wire from the old capacitor, then connect it to the new capacitor, before going for the next wire. This should avoid confusion, but may lead to a tangle of wires if you’re not focused on what you’re doing.
Afterwards, double check the connections to ensure they’re firmly fixed in place, then mount the new capacitor into the air conditioning unit.
6. Check the condenser
Lastly, turn on the aircon condenser. Then, flip the switch on the thermostat and start up the air conditioning unit. If you no longer hear any loud or unusual noise, congratulations! Your capacitor is up and running once again. If the problem still persists, contact a technician or service expert right away.
Broken Aircon Capacitor? We’re Here to Help
A busted air conditioner capacitor could always result in the slow and untimely demise of your aircon unit. But with immediate repair and maintenance, the problem should be solved in an instant. If you’re dealing with this issue, give us a call or message us here today at Luce Aircon.