A/C problem

South Louisiana...hot, south louisiana Central air unit is about 3 to 4 years old. Installed as new construction when the house was built. Yesterday afternoon we had a horrific, I mean, the worst thunder and lightning storm. We were at the epicenter of it. The lightning was striking and the sound of the thunder was simultaneous. Lights blinked off and on several times. Everything in the house seemed fine. We slept through the night and the AC worked. However midmorning today...nearly 24 hours after the thunder storm (if there is any connection at all.) the A/C stopped working. Here are the symptoms.... The fan seems to run constantly. In fact I can't get it to go off, even if I turn the breaker for the A/C off. The heater breaker, when it is turned off, will shut the fan off. (the whole system is electric, and not a heat pump) But then only with the heater breaker off, the fan will shut off. Just for kicks, I shorted the red and white wire on the thermostat and I heard the compressor groan like it wanted to come on, but at the same time, I smelled a terrible electrical smell...It didn't seem to come from the compressor area, I'm thinking it was up in the attic with the unit up there. Nothing looked amiss, but honestly, I don't know much of what I'm looking for. Any ideas...?? I will call my A/C guy in the morning, first thing, but in the mean time, curious minds want to know. Think it could have been a delayed reaction to the thunder/lightning storm?
Thanks. I'll be checking back for replies. Perry
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I can't diagnose over the net what is the real problem. However, if the system is wired with the accepted colors, you could have made matters worse. Powering a motor with two sets of windings can fry a motor in a hurry. Lets hope the AC guy can make some sense of the problem, and that you didn't do any extra damage.
It's very easy for a person to "try this or that" and make things a lot worse. I'm remembering such a case, where the family had a shorted motor, and then destroyed an expensive circuit board to go with the motor.
Please call the repair service, and also please don't connect any other wires in the meantime.
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Perry Templeton wrote:

that was probably your control transformer melting; luckily they're not terribly expensive

definitely, IMHO
you might want to look at your homeowner's policy and see whether lightning damage is covered
you might get lucky, but my guess is this will be expensive

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My A/C tech has been here... He says the problem is in the control panel. He went to supply house, got one, installed it...nahhhh..same problem. He pulls off relay and says that has to be it. Only two things that can cause that is the control panel (he calls it a circuit board) or the relay. Checked the transformer and it's ok. Somehow, something in the brains of the unit think it needs to run the heater all the while.... Yuk It's hot..it's damn hot. Extreme south Louisiana.
He's gone to look for relay now. Said the parts clerk was having trouble finding it, he asked for it when he picked up the control panel. ??
Interested to find out the culprit... Perry

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Perry Templeton wrote:

protect them from such things happening. It doesn't cost much to replace a very low amp fuse. Smell the TR.

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Well, my windows are all closed...the A/C is humming away. It seemed there was a double whammy. The relay was the problem in the attic unit. Not the control panel. Changed it and then the compressor, heater, fan, etc. cycled like it should. *Then* we discovered the fried capacitor in the compressor. The tech says maybe the heat strip was "hanging up" for a while...(there had been an overheating problem of late) and the lightning storm did it in, along with the capacitor. Whew...glad that's fixed. Perry

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