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Dalton Plumbing, Heating, Cooling, Electric and Fireplaces, Inc. Blog

What Can Go Wrong with your Air Conditioner’s Capacitors?


Wouldn’t it be nice if there was a magic wand for your air conditioner–if no matter what was wrong you could wave that wand and have the issue immediately fixed? Unfortunately, this isn’t reality. Your air conditioner is a complex electronic appliance with various wires, switches, capacitors, and more. And when something goes wrong, it requires a qualified and experienced team to get the system back up and running.

Fortunately, that’s what we are here for! Whatever the issue is, our team can resolve it. In most cases, air conditioning system problems can be attributed to one of two things–lack of maintenance or natural wear and tear. Either one of these can lead to problems with your air conditioner’s capacitors, which are vital to the performance of your AC. Never heard of them? Read on to learn more!

First Off, What’s a Capacitor?

We’re glad you asked! This is an electrical part in your cooling system that serves as a temporary battery of sorts for the motors, by storing voltage and then sending it to the motors as needed. There are two capacitors in your air conditioner–one that starts up the motor and one that keeps in running. It’s natural for these capacitors to eventually fail, as we alluded to above. But they do need to be replaced right away if you want to use your air conditioner!

So, How Do I Know If I Have a Bad Capacitor?

Let’s face it–there are a number of problems that can afflict your air conditioner. It might not be blowing out cold air, for example. Or maybe it’s short-cycling… that is, turning on and off rapidly. Strange noises can come from the system when components are wearing out or broken–like hissing from a leaking refrigerant line or screeching from worn motor bearings. How do you know if a capacitor is to blame? By keeping an eye out for these signs:

  • The cooling system is taking too long to start up.
  • You hear a humming noise coming from the system.
  • The air conditioner shuts off before it’s meant to.
  • The AC system won’t turn on at all.
  • You hear a clicking noise coming from the cabinet.

It’s important to note that these indicators we’ve just mentioned can signal a few different potential AC problems. But the best thing you can do if you notice any of these signs is give our team a call.

Why Professional Repairs Are Important

Capacitors may seem like one of those things you can just replace on your own. But we really advise against it. When it comes to replacing capacitors, not only must the voltage rating be correctly matched to your system, but the microfarads have to match too. Errors in this regard can lead to injury through electrocution, as well as problems for your air conditioner that may require a professional to fix anyway. Please give us a call if you suspect you have a bad capacitor!

At Dalton Plumbing, Heating, Cooling, Electric and Fireplaces, Inc., your comfort is our promise! To set up an appointment for professional air conditioning services, give us a call at the number above, email or schedule an appointment online.

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