How Does a Ceiling Fan Capacitor Work
Oct 12, 2016
How Does a Ceiling Fan Capacitor Work?
If you're like most people, you're probably not familiar with the inner workings of a ceiling fan capacitor. But if your fan stopped working on a hot day, you would suddenly realize the importance of this key component. A ceiling fan capacitor is a ceiling fan part that works in tandem with two coils known as the start and run windings.
Most electric ceiling fans come with a permanent split capacitor motor, which is composed of these two coils. It's the ceiling fan capacitor that helps the fan to start turning when you first switch it on. It creates a rotating magnetic field, which causes the motor to run and build up to speed.
The ceiling fan capacitor switches over to function as an auxiliary capacitor once the fan blades are fully spinning. If you have a fan that allows you to reverse the movement of the fan blades, then your ceiling fan capacitor will also assist with this process. When you switch your fan to reverse, the run winding actually becomes the start winding, and the capacitor will help the run winding to begin turning.
Depending on your model fan, you may have multiple capacitors, often housed inside a single block with multiple wires.
The Importance of a Good Capacitor
Without a good, working ceiling fan capacitor, you'll be lacking some "wind" in your home. Air will not circulate throughout your house, and your fan will not rotate as rapidly.
If you need to replace your fan capacitor for any reason, you must purchase the correct type of capacitor for you ceiling fan, including selecting the capacitor with the appropriate number of wires and the correct microfarad ratings. The quality, price and value of a ceiling fan capacitor part can vary from supplier to supplier, so it pays to select a reputable reseller. There's nothing worse than replacing your capacitor, only to have it fail again after a few months.
When Your Capacitor Won't Work
If your ceiling fan capacitor isn't working properly, your fan may not turn at all or not as powerfully or fast. On a fan that has multiple speed settings, problems may occur with varying speeds. For example, your fan may work fine on the slower speed, but then, barely rotate when you change the fan speed to the highest setting. These are common signs that you need a new ceiling fan capacitor. Some fan parts sellers will offer to test your ceiling fan capacitor, though it would be rare to find someone to test parts at no charge.