In Singapore, an air conditioner has become a vital part of our everyday lives. Cool, refreshing air is absolutely necessary to keep us comfortable in the sweltering Singaporean heat. With these appliances so crucial to our well-being, regular care and maintenance of our AC unit is a must.
While you might know the important parts of the air conditioner, such as the evaporator and the condenser, rarely do AC unit owners know what an aircon capacitor is. The aircon capacitor is a simple but essential mechanism in your air conditioner that requires care and maintenance to keep running. If the aircon capacitor is not maintained correctly, serious problems could arise in your unit and you might find yourself without a cooling system in the midst of a hot summer afternoon.
Read on to find out more about the aircon capacitor and how to care for it:
What Is An Aircon Capacitor?
The aircon capacitor is an electronic component inside your unit that is used to store charge in an electrostatic field. In a nutshell: it’s a temporary storage device for electricity. The aircon capacitor is used to stabilize voltage and start the motors in your cooling system.
The aircon capacitor is also necessary for the aircon to run, as the motors inside your air conditioner are powered by the capacitor. Singapore-made air conditioners usually come with three motors, and all three of these are powered by the capacitor. Thus, if the capacitor isn’t functioning right, then your air conditioner either won’t function at all, or will function less than efficiently. In short: the failure of your aircon capacitor could spell the slow and steady doom of your AC unit. In fact, most aircon capacitor failures usually do result in air conditioner breakdowns.
A common reason for aircon capacitor failure is when you run the AC for an extended, uninterrupted period of time. This is a frequent occurrence in a tropical country like Singapore, where the climate often leaves the temperature warm and humid. The hot outdoor temperatures, compounded with the aircon overheating from overuse, could result in your aircon capacitor malfunctioning from overexertion.
If you notice that your AC unit is producing a loud humming sound even though the fan isn’t running, then that’s a clear indication that your capacitor has malfunctioned. However, the best way to check on your aircon capacitor would be to call a professional to conduct regular checkups and maintenance on your unit.
If you’re planning to DIY your aircon capacitor repair, here’s a helpful step-by-step guide to take you through the process. However, since the capacitor is part of the inner components of the AC unit, we recommend hiring a professional to repair the aircon capacitor for you.
1. Turn off the condenser
The condenser is in the outdoor unit of the air conditioner. Put some protective gear on to protect you from potential electrical sparks and then reach for the condenser to turn it off. Test it to ensure that there is no more power in it.
2. Open access panel
Once you’ve guaranteed that there is no more power left in the condenser, find the access panel. The access panel usually has an electrical warning on it. You’ll have to loosen the screws with a screwdriver to open it.
3. Get a new capacitor
Once you’ve opened the access panel, you should be able to immediately see the ruined capacitor. The capacitor is shaped like a can and has a sticker on it. It’s important that you inspect this sticker and write down the technical data of the capacitor, such as its load voltage, tolerance, etc.
This data will be useful in finding a new capacitor, especially as you can show it to an employee at the store and have them help you find a new capacitor with the same characteristics. Worth noting is that shape and size don’t affect the capacitor’s operation—you just need to find one that matches your old capacitor in terms of technical data.
4. Check the connections of the old capacitor
Before taking out the old capacitor completely and buying a new capacitor, take a picture of the old capacitor in its place. You’ll need to know how its connected to other components of the air conditioner, and re-connect them in the same way once you’ve installed the new capacitor. This is important as connecting them incorrectly may lead to electrical accidents or the breakdown of your air conditioner.
5. Connecting the new capacitor
First, disconnect all wires from the ruined capacitor. Then, using the picture of the old capacitor still connected to its wires, install the new aircon capacitor and connect all wires to its respective spots. Don’t rush this process—in fact, it’s best that you do it slowly, double-checking to see if you installed the wire in the right place.
You can also disconnect one wire from the old capacitor, then connect it to the new capacitor, before going for the next wire. This should avoid confusion, but may lead to a tangle of wires if you’re not focused on what you’re doing.
Once you’ve successfully connected all the wires, double-check the connections to ensure they’re firmly fixed in place, then mount the new capacitor into the unit.
6. Check the condenser
As a final step, turn on the condenser. Switch on the thermostat and start up the air conditioner. If everything is working alright and you no longer hear the humming noise, you can start using your air conditioner regularly again.
Hopefully, this information has saved you your air conditioner and money from maintenance costs. If your air conditioner still isn’t working after you’ve performed all the above steps, contact an AC technician right away.
To prolong the lifespan of your air conditioner, make sure to protect the capacitor through responsible air conditioner usage and regular maintenance. Especially in hotter climates, your air conditioner is working twice as hard to keep the room cool. When forced to work all year round, the capacitor takes a blow from the constant overwork. Thus, use your air conditioner responsibly! Make use of the aircon dry mode that uses less power, or keep the unit off during chillier nights. You can also switch off the unit completely once the room reaches your desired temperature, as the room will stay cool without the air conditioner unless you have multiple windows open.
It’s also quite important to regularly care and maintain your cooling system. Have a professional check your unit every quarter and have it chemically cleaned annually. This will keep all the components in your unit running optimally and prolong the lifespan of your AC.
If you need a trusted AC technician to check on your capacitor, don’t hesitate to contact us at Oasis Aircon Singapore! We’re a local Singaporean company that offers competitive prices for our aircon services. Our highly-skilled AC technicians will ensure your air conditioner stays as good as new for as long as it's yours. Call us today!