This afternoon, my 3-ton York heat pump compressor stopped running while the
condenser fan as well as the inside circulating fan continued to run. This
unit is 14 years old. A service man checked the compressor amp draw and it
was 80 or 90. He then checked the freon charge and said that was okay. He
then installed a "Super-Boost" capacitor across the compresser start
capacitor and the compresser started. He checked the running amps and that
was 18.6 versus the 17 posted on the unit. He told me that this higher
amperage is a sign that the compresser is about to fail, could last a couple
of months or another year.
Is the installation of a Super-Boost a normal fix and how long should I
expect this bandaid to work?
Does the higher running amperage indicate a failing compressor?
Thanks for your advice,
This is Turtle.
If a compressor is over amping a little like this. The first thing you check or
change is the running capasitor for if it is weak or defective the compressor
will tend to over amp like you say.
Some equipment will need Super boost to start when they get older but most all
compressors with a weak running capasitor will need a super boost to get them
Having a super boost does not say anything is bad but you just need a little
help getting it started by the compressor getting old or a weak running
No way. He lied to you right there. If the compressor is not running, there
is no way to check anything other than to see if the unit is holding
A SuperBoost pac is the wrong thing to use.
What model York is that? A Stellar? A Stealth? An Olympian?
IF the unit you have uses a potential start relay, that might be the
problem, altho, I doubt from your description of how he hooked it up that it
The unit he installed will act as a bandaide for sure, but it will not solve
the issue at hand..
So...what did he do about that? From what you post below, I
It means he has no damn clue what he is doing. Will explain why in more
detail in a moment...
No, and till it fails again, in that order.
Not yet...see below..
Ok....lets spell this out so you can print this out, and perhaps help your
"tech" learn something. First, let me start out with this...I am a factory
trained York dealer.
The guy you had out obviously was not. If you print this out where he can
look it over, you can also let him see this......what you had out was what
we call a hack in the trade..either a very poorly trained person, or an
idiot that simply wanted to take your money.
Remember, I can not see your unit from here, but this should help you to
understand what he SHOULD have done, and not what he did.
First, its obvious that you had a bad capacitor, or a compressor that was
stuck...however, from your description of events, the good money is on a bad
Therefore, what should have happened was this:
Replace the cap with a matching value cap. IF the cap was a dual
capacitor...(3 sets of lugs on the top, one for the common lead, one for the
compressor, and one for the fan) it should have been replaced...depending on
the model of your 3 ton unit, the ratings would have been something like,
5-35-370, or even 7.5-45-440...or perhaps something a bit different, but you
get the drift I hope.
He should have then, rechecked to see if the unit ran on its own without the
hard start kit (the superboost capacitor) and if it did, then he needed to:
Check superheat, or subcool, depending on the metering device at the
evaporator coil. Once he has that information, THEN,and ONLY then can he
determine if the system is low, overcharged, or if the evap coil is dirty or
not. Most guys wont do this, as it takes time....and most have no clue how
to do this.
If he didnt check, then you have absolutly no way of knowing if the system
is charged right or not.
Assuming the system pressures and such are pretty much in range of what
would be considered normal, (again, no way of knowing unless you have a ton
of info that he didnt get) and the amp draw that the unit is pulling, minus
the amp pull from the fan, is over the RLA reading on the unit, then he
should have asked you when was the last time you had the condensor unit
chemically cleaned, and if it had not been in the last 12 months, he should
have foamed it out, and rechecked. IF the coil is slightly clogged, or
excessive dirt has built up deep in the fins, the air flow over the tubing
is reduced, and the amp draw will be higher due to higher head pressures due
to the lack of heat removal from the refrigerant. For every pressure, there
is a temp, and vice versa. Higher head pressures mean the compressor will
work harder, and thus, pull more amps as its doing its job. Once the
pressures build up, and the overamperage starts, the compressors have an
internal overload that will shut the compressor out of the loop. Over time,
this will hammer on the cap, and the cap will fail.
IF you have a dual cap..the one that also runs the fan, and its failed,
there also stands the possibility that your condensor fan RPM is not correct
and this will also result in higher head pressures. This will also do two
things..increase the amperage to the unit, as the fan motor will pull higher
amps to run, and the head pressures will also increase, thus, raising the
amperage that the compressor is pulling...
IF I was in your shoes, I would do the following:
1- Go to www.yorkupg.com and in the upper right hand side of the screen,
there is an area to type in your ZIP code...do that, and find a local
2-Call a local dealer and explain what the 1st guy did, and you can also
tell them about this reply from another dealer.
3-Have them come out and check your unit out, and it might help to give them
the model and serial number of the old unit..this way, they can make sure
that the right cap is on the truck that comes out.
4-IF they find that the senario is close to what I have described above,
call the 1st guy back, and offer to give him the SuperStart piece of sh*t
back, and offer to pay him for his service call, and nothing more.
5-Remember that you WILL hear the following more than likely: This units
at the end of its designed life span, and you can actually save more by
replacing it...and that IS the truth, however, I am one that believes in
fixing the problem, not selling units. Therefore, unless the compressor is
REALLY going bad, there isnt a real need to replace the unit, unless you
just want to lower your utility bills. While replacing the unit will indeed
save you some money, you still have to pay for the replacement, and not
everyone has a few extra thousand laying around to replace the unit if its
If you want, and are local to our company (all you commercial posting
naysayers bite me..LOL) I can arrange for it to be checked free of charge
for you. No service fees, no truck time...etc...
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