There are a variety of different reasons why an air conditioner might stop working. In extreme cases, it may even malfunction completely, which could seriously damage the components of the system. If you suspect that your air conditioner is having trouble, there are several ways to fix it yourself. Listed below are some things to check:
Checking the compressor’s capacitor
If you suspect that your air conditioner isn’t getting enough power, check the capacitor. It’s rated in microfarads, and if the reading is too low, you need to replace it. Capacitors are charged and discharged on a resistance setting. The capacitor’s maximum reading should be within the operating range. If it’s too high or too low, you need to have a professional repairman look at the capacitor.
To access the capacitor, unscrew the side panel of the condenser unit. Look inside the capacitor, which is usually located on the bottom or side of the unit. The capacitor is usually a small metal cylinder with two or three terminals on its top. Check that all wires are connected. If they’re not, you can purchase a replacement capacitor. You can get a replacement capacitor at a hardware store or HVAC parts retailer.
Checking the compressor’s contactor
When the compressor’s fuse starts to blow intermittently, it’s important to check the contactor’s continuity to ensure that Air Conditioner Repair the power source is still on and that the machine is running correctly. If you have a multimeter, you can test the resistance across the contactor’s legs. An open line on the multimeter means that the contactor is burned out. If there is continuity on all legs, the contactor is good.
If the contacts in the contactor are not closed, the compressor may be in need of repairs. The contactors have a coil and may have a thermal overload that prevents the coil from triggering the circuit. The contactor may also be damaged if the copper pads get pitted and lose their ability to close properly. Regardless of the cause of the contactor failure, it’s important to repair it as soon as possible.
Checking the 24v coil
Using a voltmeter, check the voltage across the contactor coil of the air conditioner. If there is no voltage, a blown fuse or a short in the thermostat or other control wires is likely to be the cause. If the voltage is present, the coil should be open, and you need to repair or replace the contactor. The next step is to check the compressor’s amp draw.
To test the coil, turn the switch to the “on” position and check the contactor. You should hear a click or humming noise. You can then connect a multimeter to the contactor and test the resistance with the test probe. If the multimeter reads an OL across the normally open contactors, the coil is bad. Otherwise, you can replace the contactor and the coil separately.