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Central AC capacitor fix

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Got lucky today with our AC system. The house got really hot last night, the ac was on and blowing warm air. I went outside and noticed our 14 yr old condenser fan was humming but not turning. Called up a buddy, he said “it’s probably the capacitor, he was correct. Took a pic of it to the supply house this morning, and $39 later we are no longer sweating.

E96AD0D2-F06F-42B5-B1BF-883D905F09A3.jpeg

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Run capacitor failed on my evap blower few weeks back . I noticed it immediately and shut unit off. Tested capacitor on meter and was bad. Order new one on amazon for $10 and arrived two days later , fortunately it was still cool in the 70’s. 
repair took all of 2 minutes. My BIL is a Hvac service Guy , said it would have cost me $800 if he had this as a service call as his company insists on replacing blower motor , they will not just replace capacitor. 
Dual capacitor went on my outside unit probably 5years back , that was a $16 repair . BIL says they try and sell new condensing units for that failure, $5K and up. 

My neighbor got hosed last year , spent $25k to do two new units as fast emergency replacement. He in banking and can’t even hammer a nail or turn a screwdriver, all they saw was a big S(Sucker)on his forehead.I didn’t have the heart to tell him it was probably an easy inexpensive fix. 

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Wow that is very lucky. I am currently fighting with my HVAC company about this part which has failed twice already. They want $600 to replace each time. Luckily I am under warranty but won't be soon so I am trying to get them to replace as much as possible before the warranty runs out. 

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21 hours ago, drumfish213 said:

Wow that is very lucky. I am currently fighting with my HVAC company about this part which has failed twice already. They want $600 to replace each time. Luckily I am under warranty but won't be soon so I am trying to get them to replace as much as possible before the warranty runs out. 

Document all the communication and any other notice to them. That’s the date to go by, not the actual last day of your warranty. The problem was prior to the warranty end date.  If they replaced the part already and it’s failed again, the new part starts a new calendar date for that piece. 

 

To add a bit more. This is if you need another ave to persuade. FYI, a threat of BBB does squat today. It’s better to contact the dept of consumer affairs, they have all the pull over contractors. They have the ability to forward info to the lic board for review of their practices. 

Edited by saltfisherman

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3 hours ago, saltfisherman said:

Document all the communication and any other notice to them. That’s the date to go by, not the actual last day of your warranty. The problem was prior to the warranty end date.  If they replaced the part already and it’s failed again, the new part starts a new calendar date for that piece. 

 

To add a bit more. This is if you need another ave to persuade. FYI, a threat of BBB does squat today. It’s better to contact the dept of consumer affairs, they have all the pull over contractors. They have the ability to forward info to the lic board for review of their practices. 

Thanks! I have been dealing with issues from this company of years and as you said, documentation is KEY!

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On 7/11/2020 at 4:04 PM, drumfish213 said:

Wow that is very lucky. I am currently fighting with my HVAC company about this part which has failed twice already. They want $600 to replace each time. Luckily I am under warranty but won't be soon so I am trying to get them to replace as much as possible before the warranty runs out. 

Twice for a capacitor is unusual. You might want to look into a hard start capacitor.

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14 hours ago, SB59 said:

Twice for a capacitor is unusual. You might want to look into a hard start capacitor.

I thought so as well. They tried to tell me it was just from typical wear. When I asked how long they should last I was told about 10,000 starts. There is no way the second replacement had 10,000 starts in about a year of use. 

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Lose power and/or power surges to your area?  Had a couple of issues with capacitors. Sometimes these issues create issues with the capacitors, and fyi don't ever play with the old capacitors... the discharge Is not so much fun

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I wonder how much harm is done to AC units when our power company reduces the power during peak usage. Is the “brown” power hurting my equipment?

 

I’m a fan of hard start capacitors. I had a central AC unit shut down, called a guy who found the culprit, a bulging swollen capacitor. He charged us $300 to swap out with a “similar” capacitor he had on the truck. “These old capacitors aren’t made any more, Sir” “We may have to replace the unit.” Couple of days later… same thing. Unit down, newly installed capacitor showing visible signs of being defective and now some wires are burnt. The repair guy had taken the original capacitor with him but thanks to some pics I had taken and search engines I found the specs and even the model number for the capacitor needed for our unit. I went to a local supplier and asked about the part and was told they have a crap ton of those in stock. They’re pretty much standard in the industry, how many do you want. While waiting at the counter, one of the service guys started talking about hard start capacitors, and how they are wired. We sell a kit, the same one as we install, and I was out the door for just over $40 bucks…

 

I’m not an HVAC guy but I fixed the burnt wires, installed the new capacitor and wired and mounted the hard start or kick start capacitor and for the next 7 years the unit worked flawlessly. We sold the house. To this day the wife talks about the $300 we paid for the service guy.

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My wife had called a local company before I contacted my buddy who owns an AC company. The company quoted her $150 to park his truck for an hour and diagnose, $25 per half hour for obtaining the parts and the repair, plus the price of the parts. I guess it’s fair pricing if the tech is fast and honest. But at 14 years old they could easily tell you the condenser is shot, it’s not worth fixing, and needs replacement.

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consider what a capacitor goes through from season to season. Throw in dampness and mice.  It might see 100 degrees or more one season and below freezing another season depending on where you live. The first failure I had, I did not like the sound the compressor made and it tripping the breaker so I made it point to replace them every 3 or 4 years just because.  My A/C unit is on the west side  and it bakes in the sun this time of year. In winter we've had as low as -5. 

Edited by rwalter7

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So you HVAC experts-  I'm going to change my contactor and capacitor.  Are there any preferred brands or any to avoid?  On the river site I see a wide range in prices-  not sure if that says anything abut quality or not.  Are the contactors all the same?

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Stick with brand name on the contactor , Square D , Eaton, Cutler Hammer 

I used the Genteq capacitor on  my own unit , Powercell Ok too

 

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