How To Tell If Ceiling Fan Capacitor Is Bad?

You might have seen the capacitor connected to every ceiling fan. This capacitor is used to start the motor of the ceiling fan. But due to overheating, overuse, voltage fluctuations the capacitor may not work properly. Sometimes, the capacitor may damage. In this article, the reasons for the bad capacitor, its symptoms are explained with steps to test whether the capacitor is good or bad.

Why is the Capacitor Connected to the Ceiling Fan?

There are two types of windings available in the motor of the ceiling fan. The first is the start winding and the second is run winding. The ceiling fans are generally single-phase devices. Starting torque is necessary to spin the fan. It is not possible without a capacitor. Therefore, for starting torque, the phase shift is required between two windings. Therefore the capacitor and start winding are connected in series.

Indications of a Bad Ceiling Fan Capacitor

If the capacitor of the ceiling fan is bad, the fan gets the same amount of power as it generally receives. But as the capacitor is bad, its start winding will not receive sufficient power so starting torque will not be generated. Because there is no phase difference between the two windings, the motor will try to run but because of zero starting torque, it will not be able to run. You will hear a humming sound because of this problem.

How to tell if ceiling fan capacitor is bad?

Here are the symptoms of a bad ceiling fan capacitor.


If you notice any melting or burning around the capacitor because of overheating, this is the confirmation for the bad capacitor in most instances.

The fan will not spin

If the fan doesn’t start spinning after turning on the switch but spins by pushing the blades by hand, then the capacitor is not in good condition.

The slow spinning of the fan

If the speed of the fan has been reduced, one of the reasons can be a bad capacitor. You can confirm that by testing the capacitor using a multimeter.

The fan does not work for some speeds

Few fans have speed controllers. If the fan spins slowly or even stops for some speed, then you will need to change the capacitor.

Bad readings on multimeter

If you have some doubt regarding the capacitor, you can verify that using a multimeter. If the multimeter shows unpleasant readings, then the capacitor is bad.

Assessing of Ceiling Fan Capacitor

Step 1: Turn off the switch and disconnect the supply.

Step 2: Arrange analogue multimeter

Step 3: Set the ohm setting to 10k ohm to 1M

Step 4: Connect the leads of the multimeter to terminals of a capacitor with precautions. Keep in mind that you should connect red to positive and black to the negative terminal respectively.

Step 5: Observe the readings, short circuits capacitor will have less resistance and open circulated capacitor will have high resistance.

Final Words

There are multiple indications of a bad capacitor. Some of them are presented to you above. Hopefully, all your queries regarding bad capacitors are answered.

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