2 Compressor Issues That Can Leave Your Small Business' Central Air Conditioner Less Functional

Small business central air conditioners operate similarly to residential units, which make the problems easier to diagnose than the more complex commercial units of larger businesses. If your business' air conditioning system has recently started rapid cycling, or turning off too quickly after turning on, you might have a compressor issue that can leave you without cool air until the problem is fixed.

There are two compressor issues that can leave your small business' central air conditioner less functional. You can conduct some of the tests yourself if you own a multi-meter but leave the part replacements in the capable hands of an AC service in your area.

Broken Start or Run Capacitor

The capacitors are energy-storing helpers that provide an electrical boost when the compressor is having problems maintaining a sufficient or steady supply. A start capacitor provides that boost when the compressor is first starting up after receiving the "go" signal from the thermostat. The run capacitor provides a small boost during any point of a compressor's operation that the electrical supply should for whatever reason wane.

Not every air conditioning system has a start capacitor but most have at least the run capacitor. A broken capacitor can lead to the unit shutting down as soon as the compressor tries to start (start capacitor) or after the compressor runs for a bit (run capacitor) and encounters an electrical interruption.

You can test the health of both capacitors if you own a multi-meter, and know how to correctly and safely use it, and have an insulated screwdriver. You will want to start by turning off the power to the air conditioner and gaining access to the capacitors using your owner's manual as a guide, if necessary.

Remove the wires from the terminals on both capacitors. You then need to drain out the stored electricity that will still exist inside the capacitors even with the power supply turned off to the unit. Drain the start capacitor by hooking up your multi-meter, set to AC, and waiting for the number to drop to zero. Drain the run capacitor by placing the insulated screwdriver over the terminals for a few moments and then checking to make sure it's empty using the multi-meter.

Test both capacitors by hooking up the multi-meter probes to the terminals, setting the multi-meter to Ohms, and making sure the resulting reading matches the numbers printed on the capacitor. If the numbers don't match, call an HVAC tech for a replacement part.

Broken Compressor

If the capacitors check out in good health, the problem might be inside the compressor itself. The problem could be electrical or mechanical. You can theoretically check the electrical operation by using your multi-meter set to the continuity setting but that wouldn't tell you if there was a simultaneously occurring mechanical problem.

Suspect there's a problem with the actual compressor? Ask an air conditioning repair service to take a look at the compressor and replace the part. A problem with the compressor, or a mistake installing a new compressor, could cause long-term permanent damage to your unit. For more information, visit websites like http://www.alliedme.com.