Basic Parts in the Condenser

The basic parts that come with every condenser is a contactor, dual run capacitor, compressor, condenser coils and the condenser fan motor.  Think of the contactor like a light switch.  If the switch is off then the light isn’t on but if you turn the switch on then it allows the voltage to follow the circuit to the light.  When you turn your thermostat to turn the air conditioner on a signal is sent from the thermostat to the control board that is with the furnace.  The control board receives the signal and turns on the blower fan and sends a signal to the contactor.  When the contactor receives this signal then the contactor closes and allows the voltage to power the condenser.

The dual run capacitor is like a battery to a car.  In a basic system you have 3 capacitors.  The indoor blower motor capacitor and the 2 capacitors at the condenser.  Most of the time at the condenser they put 2 capacitors in one container and that is why it is called a dual run capacitor.  A dual run capacitor has 3 connectors sticking out of the top.  One is common, fan, and herm (stands for hermetically sealed because your compressor is hermetically sealed meaning if anything in the compressor fails then you need a new one because it is sealed and can’t be opened or repaired).  The capacitor helps the motor/compressor start.  If you have for example, a 5uF (microFarad), then it really needs to be 5uf.  Capacitors have percentages on the capacitors that tell you how weak they can get before the manufacture recommends replacing.  Most common are 10%, 6% and 5%.  If a capacitor has no percentage mentioned then most go with 10%.  As the capacitor gets weaker it puts a little more stress on the motor/compressor.

The condenser coils are where the refrigerant goes through after leaving the compressor.   On some systems you will see the coils and on others they are not so visible because they have panels protecting them.  It is a good idea to wash them down once in a while especially if you can see they are dirty.  The dirtier they are the less efficient they are and the units will run longer (this also applies to a very dirty filter, dirty return or blocked returns and/or dirty evaporator coil.  You should be having your system maintenance 2 times a year, once for ac check up and once for heating check up.

The condenser fan motor is what causes the heat to leave the refrigerant which allows the vapor to turn into a liquid.  If you take a thermometer and take an outdoor reading and then place the thermometer over the condenser where the fan is blowing the air you should see 10-30 degree hotter air.  That is the heat from inside your house.

Published in: on May 23, 2010 at 7:26 am  Leave a Comment  

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