AC Parts That Might Suffer Electrical Problems

Your air conditioning (AC) system runs on electricity. The AC has electrical parts that can malfunction and cause problems just like the mechanical parts. Below is an overview of AC parts and associated electrical problems.

Electrical Wires

Electrical wires supply electricity and electrical signals to different parts of the AC. Here are examples of such wires:

  • The cable that runs from the circuit breaker to the AC power input
  • Wires that connect the outdoor and indoor units
  • Wires that connect the AC's mainboard to other parts of the system
  • Wires that connect the thermostat to other parts of the system

These wires are susceptible to different damages. For example:

  • Pests, such as rodents, can chew and damage the insulation
  • Insulation can deteriorate due to wear and tear
  • Electrical overvoltage can burn some of the wires
  • Some of the electrical connections can loosen over time

The affected wire determines the consequences in case of damage. For example, the thermostat won't trigger cooling, and your house might remain hot if its wires are loose.


Capacitors are electrical devices that store and release electrical energy. Capacitors are necessary since the AC motor requires considerable energy, especially at startup. The capacitors provide the electrical boost the AC needs to start and run.

Aging or electrical overvoltage can damage AC capacitors. A damaged start capacitor triggers AC startup problems. On the other hand, the AC might keep switching off if something damages its run capacitor.

The Thermostat

The thermostat controls the AC's heating and can turn it on or off. The thermostat has sensors that detect ambient temperature and sends signals to the AC mainboard. A malfunctioning thermostat might send the wrong signals to the mainboard or fail to send any signal.

For example, some thermostats need batteries to operate. No signal will come from such a thermostat if its batteries die. Thermostats also require calibration to ensure the temperature sensor has the right reading. Miscalibration results in wrong signals and erroneous temperature control.


The AC motor turns electrical energy into mechanical energy. A typical AC has multiple motors, such as:

  • Condenser fan motor
  • Blower motor
  • Compressor motor

The motors have the same working principle but perform different functions. Causes of motor damage include:

  • Wear and tear
  • Friction and overheating
  • Electrical overvoltage or under voltage
  • Mechanical damage

The effect depends on the affected motor. For example, overvoltage can burn a fan motor and affect airflow in your house. 

For more information about air conditioning maintenance, contact a local HVAC contractor.