Upon our arrival home on Wednesday, we discovered the house, cool, but not as cool as I would expect. Sure enough I check the air coming from the vents and it was warm...
I went out to the compressor / condenser outside and found the fan not running, and a loud buzzing coming from the compressor.
I had an idea what the problem was, so I tested. I took a thin stick and spun up the fan with it, sure enough once it was moving the fan stayed on, but the buzzing was still there, no compressor running...
That would indicate to me that the capacitor had failed.
Sadly the label listing the rating on the capacitor was missing, but there was a model number. I matched it up and found it to be a dual run 50 / 5 440v dual run capacitor.
Digging through the local vendors, Home Depot no joy, Lowes same, various small A/C or electrical repair parts places no joy. Only Grainger seemed to have one in stock.
So for one VERY sweaty night I managed to at least keep the master suite cool with a small window A/C unit and several fans. We were able to sleep, but that's about it...
On the issue of the fans, I used my shop fans, which with one of them, a 20" high volume "Air Circulator" there were absolutely zero problems, however, I do have a 20" Thermostatically controlled Lasko box fan, that came with those little plastic leveling feet that never worked worth a hoot, and had broken off years ago. I typically prop this fan up in the shop. But for use in the bedroom, I needed to whip up a pair of feet, so I quickly cut some feet from 3/4 plywood scrap that was literally laying on the floor (Still working on cleanup!), clamped them together in the vice, and relieved the corners with my belt sander to protect toes, counter sunk a couple of screw holes in each, pre drilled the pilot holes into the fan bottom, and installed the feet with sheet metal screws. So far, so great!
So taking a side trip during lunch instead of getting lunch, I swung by Grainger, and picked up the new capacitor. No biggie, except that it was literally 6 times the cost of the same exact item online.
Online at Global Industrial, the same exact capacitor sells for $5.99.
In store at Grainger, $38.99 (+ tax). So actually, over six times the cost.
But I desperately needed to get my AC fixed, so I ponied up the bucks, and snatched the unit from Grainger.
Upon arrival home, the bedroom was still cool from the window unit, so I went and begun work on the AC.
I first off threw any and all breakers that could possibly have anything to do with my AC. I pulled the cover and carefully metered the lines, completely dead.
Next I moved on to disharging the existing cap of any possible remaining charge. Nothing. I mean 100% dead.
Next I cut the zip tie that was bundling the wires up a bit too neatly, and then physically removed the band holding the existing cap, and carefully, one wire at a time, moved wire from old cap, to same position on new cap, slid the band on, and realized the new cap is about 1/16" smaller in diameter than the old one, not enough to be a real serious problem, but enough to make the band a little sloppy. Take up that slop by putting a couple of winds of electrical tape around the new cap where it is held by the band, and try again, good fit this time!
For my own sanity sake, I left out the zip ties, and with the new cap installed, I turned the thermostat back on to cool, set the temp good and low, and then threw the breakers back on, the fan AND compressor both whirred to life with their typical noise levels, so I am good.
Now for a little perspective, this house is slab on grade construction, and the heat index yesterday was about 106 deg F I believe. The slab itself was radiating heat well into the evening.
I got the new cap on, and A/C going just prior to 7:00 P.M., it took approximately 3.5 hours to cool the house from the miserable 84.5 deg F it was when I got home, down to a very livable 74 deg F.
I did leave the little window unit on and running at the far side of the house to help the main unit along, not sure how much help it really was. Just a little 8K BTU window job that I had picked up years ago on clearance at Walmart to toss into a tent door when camping in the summer in Texas (It's hokey I know, but it works!)
I got the extension cords cleared out, and fans at least pulled out of the way. The fans and window unit get pulled out of the way today. I have a lot more to do in my shop, particularly in relation to cleaning it up, and taking care of my back... And cooling the place down.
I am giving serious consideration to building a proper manifold box for the window unit A/C, and adapting it to my existing intake / exhaust ducts however I doubt that the unit is large enough to properly cool my 18x20 shop.