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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
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    4

    Run capacitor Symptoms

    This weekend I had the displeasure of sleeping in a 85 degree house. Fortunately my home warranty company was able to locate a contractor that came out this morning to diagnose and repair the problem. They diagnosed the problem as a bad run capacity and dirty condenser coil. I was hoping that the community could tell me how these two problem actually relate to the problems that I was experiencing. Please understand I am not questioning the word of the technician I am only trying to understand how these two problems would contribute to the air not cooling properly. In fact, the air is now 21 degrees cooler as measured at a register.

    The primary problem that I experience is that the air conditioner would run but the air was only cool. After two hours of continuous running it would cool the house to 81 degrees.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Lake Jackson, Tx.
    Posts
    30
    Bad run capacitor on the compressor or condenser fan motor?

    Depends on just how dirty the coil was as well.

  3. #3
    wouldn't a bad run capacitor on the compressor either make it overheat or not run at all? I am guessing it was a fan-related problem.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Posts
    4
    Quote Originally Posted by FJRSTAR View Post
    Bad run capacitor on the compressor or condenser fan motor?

    Depends on just how dirty the coil was as well.
    I assume the compressor since they were working on the outside unit. I actually just got a call from my wife (who is at home) and she says it's not blowing cold anymore and the thermostat is still reading 81. I guess those where not the problems after all.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
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    4
    Now they're saying that it's the compressor that is bad. 2-3 days to order the part and have it installed.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Round Rock
    Posts
    3,397
    Sounds about right if the capacitor on the condenser was bad and the coil was dirty. Liken it to a car engine overheating for several days and you keep driving it. What will happen, you'll probably ruin the engine on your car. Same principle on the dirty coil. It causes the unit to run hotter than necessary. The same with the capacitor. If the fan side was bad, it will cause the unit to run hot, probably the compressor got hot. If the compressor side was bad, the compressor will also run hot. Its one of those things that happen. Had the tech suggested that you replace the compressor when he cleaned and replaced the capacitor. You would have been on here throwing mud on him for trying to rip you off.
    I like DIY'ers. They pay better to fix.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    Delaware
    Posts
    3,823
    Make sure they clean the coil. If it was clean from the get go it would still be running. The dirty condensing coil started all the problems. I would get a second opinion.
    Always here

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Posts
    4
    Thank you for all the tips. The repairs are covered under our home insurance. It has been mentioned a couple of times that the dirty coils likely caused the problems. What maintenance and frequency should I have a professional do so that the chances of this happening again.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Warren, MI
    Posts
    802
    Quote Originally Posted by bmathews View Post
    Sounds about right if the capacitor on the condenser was bad and the coil was dirty. Liken it to a car engine overheating for several days and you keep driving it. What will happen, you'll probably ruin the engine on your car. Same principle on the dirty coil. It causes the unit to run hotter than necessary. The same with the capacitor. If the fan side was bad, it will cause the unit to run hot, probably the compressor got hot. If the compressor side was bad, the compressor will also run hot. Its one of those things that happen. Had the tech suggested that you replace the compressor when he cleaned and replaced the capacitor. You would have been on here throwing mud on him for trying to rip you off.
    If a bad capacitor on both the compressor and fan caused the compressor to run hot, why didn't the compressor's thermal/current overload protect it?
    Bill

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    Delaware
    Posts
    3,823
    Quote Originally Posted by jrack04 View Post
    Thank you for all the tips. The repairs are covered under our home insurance. It has been mentioned a couple of times that the dirty coils likely caused the problems. What maintenance and frequency should I have a professional do so that the chances of this happening again.
    Make sure your dryer vent is not located to close to the outdoor unit. Try to divert it a bit if it is. Once the coil is clean...you could hose it off yourself once a month. Ask the service company to show you. It's easy.
    Always here

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Central WA
    Posts
    1,306
    Bad run capacitor can mean failed or just weak. Weak means the motor will likely still start and run, just work a little harder and the capacitor may be getting ready to fail. It's a good idea to change it before it fails altogether.

    A dirty condenser coil means the unit can't reject heat. Temperature is directly related to the pressure of the refrigerant, and the compressor has to work much harder to maintain the higher pressure. The coils don't get dirty right away, it builds up over time, so when it gets to the point where it can't function at all you have been working your system very hard for a long time, which will put excessive wear on the compressor.

    The condenser should be washed out at least once a year. When I do a maintenance I also pull the top of the unit and back wash as well. Also you can pull the leaves, action figures, and other crap out that makes its way into the unit.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Andalucia
    Posts
    3,212
    Quote Originally Posted by jrack04 View Post
    Thank you for all the tips. The repairs are covered under our home insurance. It has been mentioned a couple of times that the dirty coils likely caused the problems. What maintenance and frequency should I have a professional do so that the chances of this happening again.
    You are lucky the warranty company is covering it because with the dirty condenser most would have said it was lack of maintenance, which is your responsibility. Good luck
    "War is cruelty,and you cannot refine it." Sherman to the leadership of Atlanta prior to burning the city.

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  13. #13
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Marshalltown, IA (The new rainforest)
    Posts
    699
    @pageyjim, most home warranty companies exclude regular maintenance in a situation like that because the homeowner does not readily know about a dirty coil causing these kind of issues.

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