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AC Contactor Troubleshooting

In this day and age where summer heat becomes more intense, home air conditioning gets more essential than ever. It is best to address AC cooling right away so that minor troubles would not progress into becoming huge air conditioning problems that are more complicated and more expensive to repair.

Staying on top of AC maintenance is important to keep air conditioning repairs at bay. Familiarizing with different air conditioning mechanisms is crucial so that small woes would not cause discomfort and inconvenience to everyone at home. The AC Contactor is one of the air conditioning mechanisms that homeowners should know about so that they would have an idea in case it gets worn out and affects the operation of the central AC.

What is an AC Contactor

The AC contactor is the portal of energy in an air conditioning system. It allows and restrains the inflow of electrical current into the air conditioning unit so that it can operate and cool the whole house.

It lowers down each time the AC is turned on so that electricity can flow through the AC, and it shores up when the air conditioner is turned off to impede the flow of electrical current. It also turns up every time the AC has reached the desired thermostat to stop the AC from cycling and consuming more electricity than needed.

Signs of a bad or worn-out AC Contactor

Much like any part of the AC mechanism, the AC contactor also incurs wear and tear over time. If your central air conditioning system isn’t cooling your house you’ll need to investigate further. When left undetected or unaddressed, it could cause overheating that will in turn cause the breakdown of the AC system. Knowing the signs of a failing AC contactor is key to preventing an air conditioning problem. Below are the signs of a bad AC contactor:

1. The Air Conditioner produces a humming sound and would not turn on

The AC Condener outside makes a humming or buzzing sound

2. The condenser or outdoor unit fails to turn on

The condenser outside may not turn on

3. The air conditioner makes a chattering sound

Check if a the contactor is making a chattering sound

4. Testing an AC Contactor

Test the contactor to check if it works.

How to test the Contactor

To check the condition of an AC contactor, it is best to test it. The tool to use is a multi-meter which is available in most home improvement, hardware, or electronics stores. The first step is to turn off the power from the Air Conditioner, both from the thermostat or switch and then from the breaker panel. This is to avoid electrical shocks.

The next step is to remove the side cover of the condenser or the outdoor unit. The black rectangular object where colored wires are connected is the AC contactor. Take a picture of it as a reference on where wires are attached. Unscrew the contactor, and carefully detach the wires.

Set the multimeter into the OL mode, and connect it to the volt terminals on both of its sides. If there is nothing wrong with the AC Contactor then the reading should be between 5 and 20. If the reading is lower than five or none at all then it means that the contactor is already worn out. Buy a replacement part and install it using the picture taken earlier as a guide.

Re-screw the condenser’s cover, turn on power from both the breaker and the AC unit and test if it works. Alternatively remember, that a bad ac contactor has similar symptoms of a bad capacitor, you’ll need to check if your air conditioning capacitor is bad or good.

Professional AC maintenance by Reliable Standard Heating and Air

At Reliable Standard Heating, Air, & Solar , we have a roster of expert and certified air conditioning technicians who are ready to help with any air conditioning repair, maintenance, and emergency work. Get in touch with us through our hotline or our online scheduling platform.

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