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Thread: What would cause a heat pump capacitor to go?

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    Aquatica's Avatar
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    What would cause a heat pump capacitor to go?

    got a 6 month old heat pro and the capacitor already died on us.

    good thing it looks like its a cheap part $20-$30. but would like to fix why it went so it doesn't happen again. anyone know why a capacitor would go?

    Thanks!

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    Re: What would cause a heat pump capacitor to go?

    Dirty power is my best guess given the age. A power conditioner may be called for, especially if it happens again.

    Scott
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    Re: What would cause a heat pump capacitor to go?

    Quote Originally Posted by PoolGuyNJ
    Dirty power is my best guess given the age. A power conditioner may be called for, especially if it happens again.

    Scott
    Thanks again Scott. We have an air condition guy fixing it. Don't know how much it will cost. Owner doesn't want to pay for it. So we need to get them to install this power conditioner if this is the problem. I know the breakers are always tripping. They never upgraded the electrical system in the house. Don't know why but this is the last time we are paying for the fix if it is their electrical system blowing the capacitor.

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    Re: What would cause a heat pump capacitor to go?

    It might be worthwhile to install a power monitoring device to record exactly what the power quality is (voltage etc.).

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    Re: What would cause a heat pump capacitor to go?

    Quote Originally Posted by JamesW
    It might be worthwhile to install a power monitoring device to record exactly what the power quality is (voltage etc.).
    is that expensive? I doubt the owner will install this and we are not paying for it. If they don't upgrade their electrical system we might be forced to drop them as a client.

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    Re: What would cause a heat pump capacitor to go?

    It really depends of what parameters you want to measure. There are devices you can buy that measure over 100 parameters such as this one that costs $1,500.00.

    Measures, Stores and Analyzes 144 Different Electrical Parameters Including Volts, Amps, Watts, Volt-Amps (VA), Volt-Amps Reactive (VAR), Kilowatts (kW), Kilowatt Hours (kHW), Power Factor and Harmonics through 63rd
    http://www.microdaq.com/dent_instrument ... -meter.php
    You might be able to rent a monitoring device. Perhaps from a rental place, or from as a service from an electrician. Perhaps you can get the power company to install a monitoring device for free since there might be an issue with their supply service.

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    Aquatica's Avatar
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    Re: What would cause a heat pump capacitor to go?

    Quote Originally Posted by JamesW
    It really depends of what parameters you want to measure. There are devices you can buy that measure over 100 parameters such as this one that costs $1,500.00.

    Measures, Stores and Analyzes 144 Different Electrical Parameters Including Volts, Amps, Watts, Volt-Amps (VA), Volt-Amps Reactive (VAR), Kilowatts (kW), Kilowatt Hours (kHW), Power Factor and Harmonics through 63rd
    http://www.microdaq.com/dent_instrument ... -meter.php
    You might be able to rent a monitoring device. Perhaps from a rental place, or from as a service from an electrician. Perhaps you can get the power company to install a monitoring device for free since there might be an issue with their supply service.
    Thanks. I'm going to recommend the owners contact an electrical contractor store on the island so they can tell them whats going on with their house electrical system and how to fix it. I just deal with the pool.

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    Re: What would cause a heat pump capacitor to go?

    Environmentally safe caps are junk. They age badly and you get a lot of early failures. If the power was surging enough to damage a cap, it would be do a lot more damage.
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    Re: What would cause a heat pump capacitor to go?

    Quote Originally Posted by JohnT
    Environmentally safe caps are junk. They age badly and you get a lot of early failures. If the power was surging enough to damage a cap, it would be do a lot more damage.

    how else could this cap go. we've had surges blow current limiters in 3 aqua rites. I keep spares on hand and solder new ones on. saves my clients $400.

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    Re: What would cause a heat pump capacitor to go?

    Sometimes caps die. Electrolytes can go bad, build up hydrogen and cause the cap to vent, a spike can pierce the insulators, interconnect leads between terminals and foils can fail. Fortunately, most times they die open or with a high resistance, or their capacitance changes too much with electrolyte age to be useful. Occasionally they short though, and that will cause a breaker/fuse to go.

    Caps are also cheap, as far as appliance components go.
    You should probably just replace it and move on, unless you have some pattern of multiple failures.
    Make a note of the values of the original failed unit (microfarads and voltage) to have handy in the event you ever need another one. The rule of replacement is that you want to match as close as possible; you can go higher on voltage, but stay as close as possible on uf.
    If you note the value of the original unit, you'll be best prepared to get another, as the repair guys may simply use what they have on the truck. That's not a really bad thing in itself, but if it happens a few times, then the replacements may get further and further from the original value.
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    Re: What would cause a heat pump capacitor to go?

    Quote Originally Posted by Aquatica
    Quote Originally Posted by JohnT
    Environmentally safe caps are junk. They age badly and you get a lot of early failures. If the power was surging enough to damage a cap, it would be do a lot more damage.

    how else could this cap go. we've had surges blow current limiters in 3 aqua rites. I keep spares on hand and solder new ones on. saves my clients $400.
    The new electrolytes just don't last. Rules about what can be used inside the cap have made them fairly unreliable. The surges that you see when an AC motor starts are way more than is otherwise possible in a home electrical system unless there is a major malfunction.

    Current surges aren't going to come from the power system or wiring, but are caused by the device itself drawing more current. The full current of an electrical system is available to a device at all times, but the device itself determines how much current will flow at any time.
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    Re: What would cause a heat pump capacitor to go?

    Thanks guys for the info . Much appreciated. We get serious power surges and drops in voltage is very common here. Plus the house in question is always having breakers trip. They have added on to the house and never over the years upgraded the electrical system. I'm not an electrician but this can't be good for equipment.

    We always run voltage regulators on our computers as the electrical service is so bad. We have computers and electronics fried on the island all the time so people use line conditioners as well as voltage regulators. I only have a voltage regulator on my pc.

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    Re: What would cause a heat pump capacitor to go?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ohm_Boy

    Caps are also cheap, as far as appliance components go.
    You should probably just replace it and move on, unless you have some pattern of multiple failures.

    +1

    The remedy to clean the power system at with that large of a load may be more expensive than the entire heat pump.

    Most islands have horrible power systems so it's no surprise that you will go through electrical components. Just be glad it was a cap, and not a compressor.
    20X40 30,000 gallon gunite pool

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