Ceiling fans can be worth their weight in gold during the brutal heat of the summer months, and if one of your ceiling fans starts to malfunction, you will obviously want to get it back up and running again as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, figuring out exactly what is wrong with your faulty ceiling fan can be surprisingly challenging, especially if the problem is caused by your ceiling fan's capacitor.
What are ceiling fan capacitors?
The vast majority of modern ceiling fans contain a vital component known in the business as the start capacitor but is usually referred to simply as the capacitor. While it usually looks like a nondescript plastic box, the capacitor is actually a powerful electric motor that supplements the fan's main motor and activates when the ceiling fan is switched on.
The power boost provided by a functioning capacitor helps a ceiling fan reach its maximum speed more quickly. This extra power at start-up is particularly important in larger, heavier ceiling fans with timber or metal construction, which require a lot of power to overcome their inherent inertia. In some pull-chain fans, the capacitor is also responsible for switching between speed settings.
What happens when a ceiling fan capacitor fails?
A number of problems can indicate that a ceiling fan's capacitor has malfunctioned or burnt out:
You can also visually inspect the capacitor itself to check for visible damage, although this requires you to disassemble the fan's motor housing. If the plastic housing containing the capacitor looks burnt or melted, the capacitor has almost certainly failed. The heat produced by a burnt-out capacitor can also damage other nearby circuits and components.
What should you do if your ceiling fan's capacitor fails?
If your ceiling fan is not performing as it should and you suspect a faulty start capacitor is to blame, you can attempt to replace it yourself. You will need to obtain a replacement capacitor that matches your faulty capacitor, so be sure to note the faulty capacitor's make, model and serial number (if it has one). Note that finding the right kind of replacement capacitor may be difficult, especially if your ceiling fan is relatively old or the model has been discontinued.
If you are unable to replace the capacitor yourself or the burnt-out capacitor caused damage to other ceiling fan components, you should call in a professional electrical repair service to tackle the issue. A reputable electrical repair service can swiftly obtain and install a suitable replacement capacitor and can also detect and repair any collateral damage to your fan's internal components.
To learn more, contact an electrical repair company.