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Problem: Why is my Air Conditioner Contactor Going Out So Often?

Bryant Carrier Air Conditioner Contactor

Problem: Why do I have to replace my air conditioner contactor so often? This happens every couple of weeks. Either my contactor’s contacts are welded closed which keeps the air conditioner running continuously without me being able to turn it off without pulling the high voltage disconnect or the contactor quits working altogether?

Answer: Thanks so much for asking this question!  I have seen many contactors go out prematurely in our HVAC business.  Contactors going out prematurely are usually caused by dirt, moisture, or low voltage. I would like to suggest that you test your coil voltage and make sure that you are keeping a minimum of 24 volts AC to the contactor coil. If you are not getting at least 24 volts AC to the contactor coil then contactor contacts will chatter, vibrate, arc, and burn the contactor out prematurely. If you are not getting at least 24 volts to the contactor then you might have a loose low voltage wire connection, a thermostat that needs new batteries or you might need a new transformer or a transformer with a  higher VA rating. Most transformers are 40 VA. You might want to get a transformer that is more than 40 VA. We have a really good YouTube Video made by #ToolboxTuesday below that describes what causes contactors to fail. Thanks #ToolboxTuesday for making this excellent video!   Please click here if you are interested in a good universal low voltage transformerPlease click here if you are interested in a new contactor. Please email us anytime if you have any questions. Our email address is support@arnoldservice.comWe would love to help you out and have your business! We hope that this post helps you find out what is causing your contactor to fail so often.  We hope you all have a great and blessed day! 

 

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Problem: My furnace needs a new control board. Is there any way I can bypass the control board so I can run my air conditioner?

troubleshooting air conditioners and heat pumps

Problem: My furnace needs a new control board. Is there any way I can bypass the control board so I can run my air conditioning? We have this question asked quite often during the summer months. The problem is that the blower fan will not come on because the fan relay on the control board has failed. It is on the weekend when getting a control board is impossible or the person does not want to wait on a new control board to be shipped in before they can use their air conditioner.  It is hot and they need air conditioning now.  I wanted to make a post and write about how to bypass the control board to get air conditioning back on while waiting for a new control board.

Answer: This answer is intended to be used on PSC  (Permanent Split Capacitor) motors and not ECM (electronically commutated motors). If you have an ECM motor do not try this. If you have a 220-volt air handler do not try this.  If you are not comfortable working with electricity and working with your hands then do not try this. We here at Arnold’s Service Company, Inc. are not responsible for any injury or damaged equipment that might occur when doing this control board bypass. This answer is intended to help you get your air conditioning working again while you wait to have a new furnace control board installed. I feel so very sorry for people who have to wait on a control board to come in when wanting to run their air conditioner on those hot summer days and nights! I know that I would want to have air conditioning if there was any way possible! I hope this will help you get your air conditioner back on until you can get a new control board installed. We have a really good video below made by Travis Poe and HVAC contractor. Mr. Poe explains how he bypassed a furnace control board to run the blower by tying into the furnace door switch. This is an excellent idea! Thanks so very much to Travis Poe for making this great YouTube video. Below the video, I have another idea where I explain how to bypass the control board and connect the blower motor using an extension cord. You could use either method. Mr. Poe’s explanation seems to be a lot simpler than my explanation. 

You can also bypass the furnace control board with a heavy-duty extension cord as I describe here. This is the email I wrote to one of our potential customers when they asked if there was a way to bypass the furnace control board so the family could get air conditioning while waiting on a new control board. Here is my answer: The control board is used to start and stop the fan motor on your indoor furnace blower motor in both heating and air conditioning mode. There is a fan relay on the board that controls the blower motor. The control board should have nothing to do with the AC coming off and on because on most boards unless you have a high efficiency two speed AC. The only function of the control board for most AC installations is to provide a junction for the two Y wires at the furnace control board and the control board is not used to turn the outdoor unit off and on. The thermostat controls the AC outdoor unit to go off and on through the Y connection. The control board is used to turn the fan blower off and on. If you could by-pass your control board fan relay and run an extension cord to your fan blower motor then this would allow you to run your AC. You should be able to do this by turning the power off to your furnace and disconnecting the wires that go to your blower motor from the control board. Usually, there are 5 wires that come from the blower motor. Black, White, Blue, Yellow, and Red.  The Black, Blue, Yellow and Red wires are the furnace speed wires. The white wire is usually the neutral or common wire. You will only use two of the wires black and white coming from the blower motor to connect to the extension cord. I would suggest using a heavy gauge extension cord with at least 14 gauge wire because some blower motors require on the average 5 to 12 amps of power. You will need a good extension cord so it does not rob the blower motor of electricity. I would suggest using electrical tape to tape over the ends of the blower wires that you do not use so they will not short to ground.  You would hook the hot wire usually black (high speed)  on the blower to the black wire of a stripped extension cord with a wire nut then hook the white (neutral wire) of your blower motor to the white wire of the extension cord and plug the extension cord into a 120-volt outlet. The blower motor should start and run.  Turn your furnace back on so you will get 24 volts to the thermostat. Turn your thermostat to cooling and turn the thermostat down so your outdoor AC comes on. This should provide AC for your home. You will need to of course manually unplug the blower and turn up the AC thermostat when you want the AC to stop. I hope this helps you get air conditioning until your new control board arrives. God Bless you and your family today and always! Steve

 

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Problem: Please explain how to read air conditioner refrigeration gauges?

Problem: I would like to check the charge on my air conditioner or heat pump unit. I purchased some air conditioner freon refrigerant gauges, but have no idea what all the numbers pressures and temperatures mean. Please explain how to read the HVAC freon air conditioner gauges.  Please explain what all the numbers and temperatures mean?

Answer: I found a great YouTube video made by AC Service Tech LLC that describes how to read manifold air conditioner refrigeration gauges when using either R22 or 410A refrigerant. AC Service Tech explains what things affect the pressures on the low and high side gauges. If you have any questions please email us anytime. Support@arnoldservice.com

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How to Use a Multimeter to Troubleshoot HVAC Circuits

Problem: In troubleshooting heating and air conditioning problems it is very important to know how to use a multimeter.  I remember when I did not know how to use a multimeter and I would use the trial and error method for testing circuits! If the circuit breaker blew then I had it wired wrong. If the breaker held I was right! This, of course, was very dangerous and I do not want anyone to use this trial and error method! The trial and error method is very scary, to say the least!  It is a wonder that I did not burn the house down or get hurt from electrical shock! Many people do not know how to use a multimeter and I wanted to list this post and video that shows how to use a multimeter! Of course,  as we all know electricity (the flow of electrons in a conductor) can not be seen. We need to know how to use a multimeter and we need a good multimeter to be able to troubleshoot, find, and fix HVAC, automobile, and home electrical problems. 

Solution: Learn how to properly use a multimeter to troubleshoot heating and air conditioning equipment. We have a really good YouTube video made by Word of Advice TV that explains how to use a multimeter in detail. The Word of Advice Video explains what the multimeter is capable of doing and then shows how each of the functions of the multimeter are used in troubleshooting and testing a furnace. The video shows how to check resistance, voltage, continuity, capacitors, batteries micro-amps, and more! Thanks so very much to Word of Advice TV for making this excellent educational video!  We sell the same G2 Phoenix Pro multimeter that is used and shown in the video below on the following page: Please click here if you are interested in the Phoenix Pro Multimeter that we sell. 

It is unbelievable and awesome how many different tests and functions that you can do with a good multimeter! The most useful thing that I found with multimeters in troubleshooting is the ability to read electricity and amperage through an insulated wire! How can it do that? Just clamp around the outside of the wire and see how many amps are being used and see the flow of electricity! Awesome to say the least!  I hope this video helps you understand how to use a multimeter! If you have any questions please email us anytime or comment below. Our email address is support@arnoldservice.com

We Would Love to Help You Out and Earn Your Business!

 

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How to Use a Multimeter to Troubleshoot HVAC Problems.

Problem: We have many people and potential customers ask us to try and help troubleshoot their furnace and air conditioning systems without the use of a multimeter. In many cases, I suggest that people purchase a low-cost multimeter so they can find the problem. As we all know electricity, which is the flow of electrons in a conductor can not be seen so a multimeter is essential for troubleshooting HVAC systems. We sell multimeters on the following pages: the Fieldpiece SC260 Clamp Multimeter , The Ames Pocket-Sized Digital Multimeter Capacitor Tester, and UEi DL389B G2 Phoenix Pro Plus True-RMS AC Clamp Multimeter (With Temperature)

Solution: Purchase a good multimeter and learn how to use it. Below we have two really good YouTube videos on “How to Use a Multimeter”. The first video made by Word of Advice TV is very detailed and shows all the Multimeter functions and how to use the meter to test components on an HVAC System. The video made by AC Service Tech near the bottom shows a shorter version on how to use the Multimeter and test components. We have the G2 Phoenix Series Multimeter like what is used in the YouTube Videos for sale on the following page: UEi DL389B G2 Phoenix Pro Plus True-RMS AC Clamp Multimeter (With Temperature)  We hope these two videos help you to learn how to use a Multimeter. Thanks so very much to Word of Advice TV and AC Service Tech for making these two informative videos! I you have any questions please let us know by commenting below or emailing us. Our email is support@arnoldservice.com. We would love to help you out and earn your business! 

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How to clean out a 90% high-efficiency furnace’s condensate drain line properly

We have many people who have high-efficiency furnaces that either leak water in the wintertime or the condensate drain line stops up and causes pressure switch problems. If the blink code on your furnace is showing a pressure switch fault then you might have a stopped up furnace condensate line. The blink code is the blink code (number of LED flashes) on the furnace’s control board. The blink code key most of the time is found on the furnace’s blower door or access door. If you have a 90% high-efficiency furnace that produces water in the wintertime then we have an excellent YouTube video below made by AC Service Tech that shows how to properly clean out the condensate drain line. Thanks so much to AC Service Tech for making this excellent video! We have condensate traps and condensate line drain kits on the following page: Please click here if you are interested in seeing the various furnace condensate traps and condensate line repair kits that we sell.

If you have any questions or if you would like for use to look up a part for your furnace or air conditioner then please send us your furnaces brand name and model number to our email address: support@arnoldservice.com

We Would Love to Help You Out and Earn Your Business! Steve & Barbara Arnold

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Why is it Important to Know Your HVAC System’s Static Pressure!

Problem: We had a person send us an email this week who had an 8-year-old heat pump compressor burn out. He wanted us to post on our site the importance of having your HVAC company check the static air pressure in your duct system. The company that installed the new heat pump unit said the reason the compressor burned out was that it was due to the lack of return air in the ductwork. Our customer said, “WOW… how many HVAC companies have worked on my unit>>> TOO DARN MANY… and NO ONE even said or checked my return air static pressure. Steve, make sure you tell people about how important is it to have their static pressure checked.”

Solution: If you are having a new HVAC system installed or if you are having airflow problems with your furnace, air conditioner or heat pump system then it is very important to have your HVAC company do a static air pressure test to make sure that your ductwork is sized correctly and you do not have restrictions in your furnace or ductwork that are causing airflow problems. This is why it is important to not have a furnace filter that is too restrictive to airflow. Static Pressure is like the blood pressure in your HVAC system’s duct work. We have two Youtube videos below that explain why it is important to know and test your HVAC system’s static air pressure. Thanks so very much to Eddie L for an excellent drawn-out explanation of what static pressure actually is and to Althoff Industries who explains and shows how to test static pressure! I hope that these videos help you understand the importance of having your HVAC System’s Static pressure tested.

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How do I tell if my gas furnace’s inducer motor is bad?

Problem: I turned my thermostat up to try and get my heat to come on and nothing happens! My furnace’s draft inducer will not start. After 30 seconds to a minute, I get a flash code on my control board that shows, “Pressure Switch Failed to Close”

Answer: We have this question asked quite often. The first component of the furnace that should start up after the thermostat is turned up to call for heat is the draft inducer. It might be necessary to tape your furnace’s safety door switch closed temporarily so you can test the furnace’s control board with a voltmeter. Test with a voltmeter on your furnace’s control board to make sure you are getting 24 to 28 volts AC between the W and C (com) thermostat wires that come from the thermostat. If you are not getting 24 volts between W and C (com) then you either have a thermostat problem, a thermostat wire problem, the thermostat might not be turned on heating or turned up, you could have a low voltage transformer problem or a blown fuse on the control board. Make sure that the batteries in your thermostat are in good condition. If you are getting 24 volts between W and C (com) and the draft inducer is not coming on then please watch the following really good YouTube video made by AC Service Tech LLC. Craig Migliaccio on “How to tell if a draft inducer motor is bad”.  Please click here if you would like to see many air conditioning and heating videos made by AC Service Tech. I believe these are the best HVAC Repair Videos on the Internet! I hope this post will help you in finding and fixing your furnace problem! If you have any questions please comment below or email me, Steve Arnold at Support@arnoldservice.com. Thank you so much for your time and support with our website!  

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Problem: Why does my gas furnace short cycle so much?

Troubleshooting Gas & Electric Furnaces

Problem: Why does my gas furnace short cycle so much? The furnace gas lights, but before the thermostat is satisfied the gas goes off. I do not understand what could be causing the gas to go off in our furnace before our thermostat has been satisfied. I noticed this happening for the past week. What could be the problem?

Answer: We have this question asked quite often. We have an excellent Youtube Video made by AC Service Tech LLC that explains why gas furnaces short cycle below. Craig Migliacco does an excellent and thorough job explaining four reasons why gas furnaces short cycle! Thanks to AC Service Tech LLC and Craig Migliacco for making this excellent video!! Please click here if you would like to see the AC Service Tech LLC written post with pictures that explains The four top reasons why a gas furnace short cycles. In short detail the 4 reasons are:

  • The thermal limit switch is tripping and opening up the electrical circuit. The thermal limit switch tripping could be caused by a dirty filter, dirty blower wheel, dirty or stopped up evaporator coil, a slow blower motor (might need a new capacitor or the gas input might be set too high (might need to adjust gas pressure).
  • The pressure switch is tripping and opening up the electrical circuit. This could be caused by a stopped up vent or a slow, stopped up draft inducer. You might need to clean the furnace’s condensate drain line. Please click here if you would like to see our furnace pressure switch troubleshooting page.
  • The control board could have a relay with pitted contacts that are failing.  You might need a new control board.
  • The flame proving process might be off because of a dirty flame sensor, gas burners or heat exchanger. Please click here if you would like to see our flame sensor troubleshooting page.

This excellent video below explains these 4 problems in detail.

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Gas Furnace Sequence of Operation is Important to Know!

This excellent Youtube Video made by AC Service Tech LLC that explains why it is important to know the Gas furnace sequence of operation when troubleshooting furnaces.  If one sequence of operation does not occur then as a troubleshooter you can focus on the sequence that is missing and fix the problem.  Thanks so very much to Craig Migliaccio for taking the time to make this excellent video! I have the sequence of operation below. The YouTube video illustrates the sequence of operation on a Bryant Carrier 92% condensing furnace.  The proper sequence of operation is:

  1. The thermostat calls for heat by the home owner (you) turning the thermostat up.
  2. The thermostat provides 24 volts to the W terminal on the control board. When you check with a voltmeter you should have 24 volts AC (alternating current) between W and C (com) on the control board.
  3. The control board sends 110-125 volts AC to the draft inducer to start the draft inducer.
  4. If the vent and combustion chamber are open then the pressure switch closes the connection between the two wires that go into the pressure switch. If the furnace pressure switch, limit and rollout switches are all closed (allowing current to run through them) then the control board starts the furnace ignition sequence.
  5. The control board sends power to the furnace ignitor which should glow bright orange for a set number of seconds. Usually 15 to 30 seconds. During the set time that the ignitor is glowing the control board sends 24 to 28 volts AC to the gas valve to open the gas valve allowing gas to flow and the gas burners to ignite (start burning). If the gas burners do not ignite in 5 to 8 seconds the flame sensor does not sense the flame and the control board turns the gas valve off. FYI-If this happens you might need to clean your flame sensor or replace your flame sensor. Please click here if you are interested in the flame sensors we sell. If the flame sensor does sense the flame the control board sends 24 volts to the gas valve and the gas burners continue to burn until the thermostat is satisfied.
  6. After the furnace gas burners ignite the furnace, the furnace’s heat exchanger heats up for approximately a minute or so then the furnace blower comes on to distribute the heat throughout your home.
  7. The furnace blower motor and gas continue to burn until the thermostat on your wall satisfies the need for heat (reaches the set temperature) then the thermostat breaks the voltage in the W (white) wire and cuts the gas burners off.
  8. The furnace blower motor continues to run for a set amount of time that is determined by the furnace’s control board until the heat is removed from the furnace’s heat exchanger. Then the blower motor goes off until the next heating cycle from the thermostat on the wall is needed.  If you have any questions please contact us anytime. Our email address is: support@arnoldservice.com
  9. We Would Love to Help You Out and Earn Your Business! Steve & Barbara Arnold

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