Central air conditioner maintenance can help keep your unit running efficiently for a long period of time. However, problems can still occur when a part or parts malfunction. These malfunctions are sometimes easy to fix such as when dirty evaporator coils thwart efficiency and you simply need to clean the coils. Other times the problem is more involved and requires a central air service technician, such as when the refrigerant levels get too low or unbalanced.
But there are also times when a problem occurs and the only course of action is to replace the malfunctioning part. Trying to repair the part can either pose a danger to your system or increase the likelihood that the problem will just worsen with time.
The exterior condensing unit for your system has a few different parts that will need to be replaced rather than repaired.
Start and Run Capacitors
The condensing unit has two capacitors that provide an electrical boost. The start capacitor helps boost the power needed to start the cooling process while the run capacitor helps stabilize the electricity used during the cooling process. If one of the capacitors starts to fail, your unit can start to cycle on or off too quickly or can fail to turn on at all.
You can test the capacitors using a multi-meter with capacitor settings. You want to make sure the electricity to the unit is turned off first. Then, drain the capacitor of stored energy first by attaching the multi-meter, set to AC current, and waiting for the reading to zero out. You can then test the capacitor for health. Match the reading to the numbers on the side of the capacitor and if they don't match, you need to completely replace the capacitor.
There is no real way to repair a capacitor and leaving a failing capacitor in place will only continue your cooling issues.
The blower fan helps stabilize the temperature of the condenser coils, which take in gas refrigerant and change the gas into a liquid – a process that causes the coils to become hot. If the condenser coils overheat, the refrigerant's phase change can become less efficient. Or the unit can overheat and shutdown for its own protection.
The blower fan can experience problems due to the motor going out or due to the fan itself becoming too bent to spin properly. The fan blades are very lightweight and while it is possible to gently adjust minor bends, adjusting serious bends risks breaking the blades. The break might not even be obvious to your eyes but will be painfully obvious when the blade comes apart as it spins. If you suspect an issue, contact a local repair shop, like Central Aire Conditioning, for more help.