There are many components to the air conditioning system that require needed maintenance as well as inspection before the temperatures warm up. During the winter season the air conditioner has sat still and left unused which can lead to certain component failures. One component that can develop problems even when not in use is the air conditioner’s contactor. The contactor is a small electrical component that can fail. When the contactor begins to fail it will develop tell-tale signs. Absolute P&M Services will go into more detail as to what the contactor is and signs that it is beginning to fail.
How Does an Air Conditioner Contactor Work?
An air conditioner has an electrical transmitter that relays information to all of the various parts of the air conditioner. This electrical transmitter is known as the contactor. The contactor is designed to move the electrical power to the different circuits. The contactor depends on the cooling or heating needs and will send the volts to the volt side or to the load side. The load side is the fan motor and compressor. When the time comes, the contactor will switch the electrical flow from the volt side to the load side. The contactor is like a road conductor that tells which side of the road the vehicles can go and which side needs to stop.
How Do I Know if My AC Contactor is Bad?
If the contactor fails, the electrical flow to the two sides is cut off. Essentially, the air conditioner will not start. Before the contactor completely fails, it will provide some early warning signs it is failing. By detecting these early warning signs, you can seek proper repairs before the air conditioner fails. Here are some of the common signs of a failing contactor:
AC Making a Humming Noise: As the contactor is an electrical based component, often it will make an electrical humming noise as it begin to develop problems. Humming may also be due to other electrical problems such as loose wire connections. However, if the humming is accompanied with a compressor that lags, or the fans electrical flow to the load side is delayed, then this delay can help direct the problem to a failing contactor.
AC Making a Chattering or Rattling Sound: The contactor is a box that looks like a circuit breaker. An accompanying component to the contactor is the plunger. When the contactor is dirty the coils can become weak which will cause the plunger to make a chattering sound. Sometimes the coils of the contactor just needs to be cleaned and the plunger will begin to operate normally. However, when there is a chattering noise the contractor is in some kind of trouble. Usually chattering means the contactor needs cleaning or it may need to be replaced.
AC Contactor Burn & Melt: When the air conditioner seems to be having start-up problems, or there is a lag or failure to switch power to the compressor, a technician will check the contactor. In some cases the contactor will overheat and melt. When the outer plastic casing is melted the contactor has overheated and will require replacement.
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If your air conditioner fails to start up properly as the temperature begins to warm up and displays symptoms of a failing contactor, contact Absolute P&M Services today.