The contactor plays a vital role in the complex landscape of your HVAC system. This electrical component acts as a bridge between your thermostat and the high voltage elements like the compressor, fan motor, blower. If everything is working perfectly, you probably won’t know it’s there. However, when your HVAC contactor starts to fail, the signs can be subtle but disruptive, affecting not just your comfort but also your energy bill and safety. Six of the most common indicators to watch for if your HVAC contactor is starting to fail are listed below.
- High Electricity Bills: If your HVAC system seems to running non-stop but is not effectively heating your home, it could be due to a contactor that is stuck in the “closed” position. This means that electricity is continuously flowing to the high-voltage components, causing your system to run incessantly and increasing your energy bills.
- Unusual Noises: You might start hearing unusual noises from your HVAC unit, such as clicking or humming sounds. A fully functioning HVAC contactor will usually make a subtle “click” when engaging. However, if you hear a continuous clicking or humming noise when the system is supposed to be on or off, it could indicate that the contactor is not engaging or disengaging properly.
- Intermittent or Failed Start: One of the most noticeable signs of a failing contactor is when your HVAC system has trouble starting up or frequently stops working. This may manifest as your air conditioner or furnace turning on and off intermittently or not starting at all. The erratic behavior can usually be traced back to the contactor failing to make a proper electrical connection, disrupting the entire HVAC system.
- Overheating: A failing contactor can sometimes cause the HVAC unit to overheat, resulting in a burnt smell. In extreme cases, this can lead to a potential fire hazard, emphasizing the importance of timely repair or replacement.
- Physical Damage: If you’re handy and comfortable doing so, you can visually inspect the contactor for any signs of wear and tear. With the power turned off, open the HVAC unit’s access panel and locate the HVAC contactor. Look for signs like charring, pitting, or any visible electrical arcing on the contact points. These are clear indicators that your contactor needs immediate replacement.
- Age and Lack of Maintenance: Like any other mechanical part, HVAC contactors have a finite lifespan, usually around 100,000 cycles (a cycle is a complete on-and-off sequence). If your HVAC system is old and the contactor has never been replaced, it might be nearing the end of its lifecycle. Regular maintenance checks can help identify this issue before it leads to system failure.
Looking out for the symptoms above can help reduce costly HVAC repair bills and keep your furnace or air conditioner working when it counts. Check out our selection of contactors here https://www.thehvacgenius.com/shop/shop-by-category/contactors-shop-by-category/
Live Smart. Breathe Easy
The HVAC Genius Team