Your Ineffective AC Might Need A New Capacitor Or Contactor

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When an AC unit fails, the problem may turn out to be a part that is surprisingly inexpensive. After your AC unit is five years old or older, you may even wish to purchase these parts before they even need to be replaced so that these parts do not fail and cause you to be without your air conditioner for awhile. Two parts that often need to be replaced are the capacitor and contactor.

Safety First

Before replacing a part for your air conditioner, you will need to make sure that equipment has been turned off and that the electricity has been discharged. Otherwise, there is a risk that you will receive an electric shock when trying to replace a part. 

Warning Signs

The capacitor or contactor relay needs to be replaced when your air conditioner is not blowing cold. The capacitor is the most frequent cause of this problem. The HVAC fan may continue to blow, but no cold air is coming out. The capacitor and contactor work together in order to power the compressor each time that the thermostat instructs the air conditioner to cool. 

Finding The Capacitor And Contactor

There is a panel that protects the capacitor and contactor. Four screws will usually need to be removed in order to access this part. Usually, the panel can be found wherever the wires and plumbing enter the AC unit. Be careful with the wires because they might still be hot and you may be shocked when touching them if the AC unit has not been sufficiently discharged.

It is common for the contactor and capacitor to have their names printed on the label. If you do not want to immediately replace one of these parts, you can use a multimeter to make sure that the part is still working. Also, the capacitor might be bulging and leaking, which also indicates that it needs to be replaced. 

Replacing Them

Fortunately, the capacitor and contactor will usually have a part number on the label. This can be used to find a replacement part and the replacement part. Using an exact duplicate of the original part is the best way to avoid problems.

Because of the danger of replacing these parts, you may want to hire an HVAC contractor. Air conditioning units might have slight differences in where parts are located and you may also make a mistake when replacing the capacitor or contactor.

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