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Old 05-09-2010, 06:39 PM   #1
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Capacitor on outside unit bad


Hello!

My a/c quit working earlier this weekend. The fan on the outside unit quit working, and it blew hot air inside.

Turns out it was the capacitor on the outside that ran the fan and the compressor. I called a HVAC tech, because the A/C system is a bit beyond my capabilities at the time being, but now I know.

He could tell it was a bad capacitor almost instantly. The end on the capacitor was bowed out as if there was too much pressure inside.

He replaced it, and it worked perfectly. He charged me $225 bucks for the capacitor and $100 to come out on a Sunday and diagnose it. Did I get ripped off? Or is that a good deal? Nevertheless, I'm just glad I didn't have to replace the whole unit!!!

Homer

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Old 05-09-2010, 06:52 PM   #2
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Capacitor on outside unit bad


We don't know where you live (cost of living) and don't do pricing here. My company charges the same or more than he did. Weekends ARE EXPENSIVE and you bought a more expensive dual capacitor. Sounds reasonable to me.

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Old 05-09-2010, 06:53 PM   #3
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Capacitor on outside unit bad


It is what it is. Overtime call would have been a little more from the company I work for but the capacitor would have been a LOT cheaper. DIY would have been about $15.
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Old 05-09-2010, 07:03 PM   #4
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Capacitor on outside unit bad


IMO the bill for HVAC tech service was reasonable. The A/C is fixed and running after a weekend failure and the house is cool . If it was DIY capacitor it would be much less unless one wires it up wrong but typical A/C repairs require extensive training for proper diagnosis/repair.
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Old 05-09-2010, 07:31 PM   #5
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Capacitor on outside unit bad


Plus there are MANY different ways companies do their pricing. Some use flatrate, other use time and material (which means customer pays a hourly rate for tech to fetch parts/ some carry no stock and you pay the tech to go for coffee) and other methods. Cost of part on the net is never very relevant.
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Old 05-09-2010, 08:46 PM   #6
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Capacitor on outside unit bad


Thanks for everyone's input. I certainly wasn't complaining about the service. The guy came 15 minutes early, was honest, and let me watch what he was doing. He took the time to explain other things about the A/C system that I should look for or to troubleshoot. I think 325 was fair, especially for the guy to come out on a Sunday. I'm just naturally weary of other people's work, I've been ripped off a lot before. He could have just as easily told me the whole unit was bad and I would have had to believed him.

I never knew there was a capacitor on that system or why it would need one. That's interesting interesting! I'm familiar with capacitors, I used to work with capacitors as large as 50 farads on mobile electronics systems. Why does the A/C unit need one?

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Old 05-09-2010, 08:47 PM   #7
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Capacitor on outside unit bad


For starting torque etc. Google:permanent split capacitor motor for more info.
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Old 05-09-2010, 08:48 PM   #8
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Capacitor on outside unit bad


Quote:
Originally Posted by yuri View Post
We don't know where you live (cost of living) and don't do pricing here. My company charges the same or more than he did. Weekends ARE EXPENSIVE and you bought a more expensive dual capacitor. Sounds reasonable to me.
Oh, I forgot to point out, Yuri...

It had a dual capacitor on it, that's what failed. He replaced it with two separate capacitors, one big one and a small one. He said that the dual capacitors are an antiquated setup. Wonder why.

Someone pointed out that they cost about $15 to replace?

Homer
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Old 05-09-2010, 08:52 PM   #9
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Capacitor on outside unit bad


6 of one half a dozen of the other, Some units use a combo and others use 2, depends on the manufacturer. The higher end units have an additional start capacitor and starting relay plus other safety controls. A single capacitor may cost $15 a dual probably more, have not priced one lately. Sounds like he used a flat rate pricing system which I like as I can quote a customer a fixed price and he can take it or leave it, no fighting over arrival time etc etc. Check my post above yours for the capacitor reason.
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Old 05-09-2010, 09:36 PM   #10
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Capacitor on outside unit bad


Quote:
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50 farads
What working voltage do you get on those? And short circuit currents of 15,000 amps?

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Old 05-10-2010, 05:57 AM   #11
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Capacitor on outside unit bad


Run capacitors serve more then one purpose on a motor.

Determines rotation.
Increases or decreases HP/torque.

The cap shifts the A/C phase.

For a Sunday call. The total fee charged is pretty low for many areas.

Dual caps are not antiquated. They still are in all new single phase units made to day.
But, it is very hard to carry every dual configuration you can run into. So its common to switch to 2 single caps.

As above. Sounds like a flat rate pricing system.

T&M, could be expressed as: $100 overtime/Sunday call fee, $100 diagnose fee, $25 for caps, and $100 part install fee.

The tech you got, was a good tech. He didn't BS you, and try to sell you a new system. Don lose the number for that tech/company.
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Old 05-10-2010, 05:40 PM   #12
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Capacitor on outside unit bad


Yep, Bubba woulda told you the compressor ruined the capacitor and it needs replacing also.
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Old 05-11-2010, 03:04 AM   #13
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Capacitor on outside unit bad


Quote:
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R


The tech you got, was a good tech. He didn't BS you, and try to sell you a new system. Don lose the number for that tech/company.
sPeaking from a personal point of view if a tech sells the HO a new system he loses two ways: One: he will lose a customer after the ho has had a chance to let a rushed derision sink in.
Two: If the unit had some years left on it the tech loses future business If the HO gets wise to the scam.
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Old 05-11-2010, 02:01 PM   #14
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Capacitor on outside unit bad


I personally would have charged the HO 10-20% markup on the cap because as far as parts go anyone can supply them but what not all can supply are the problem solving skills I have developed over the years, and this is what my customers pay for. Fast, efficient, honest service.

I have subscribed to this method of doing business for over 25 yrs and have never been out of work nor customers. I don't advertise either now, i just work on word of mouth reputation.

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