Air Conditioner Capacitors: Symptoms of Failure and What to Do About It

If you live in O Fallon, MO, and rely on your air conditioner to stay cool during the summer months, then you know how important it is to keep your AC unit in good working order. One component that can cause problems with your air conditioner is the capacitor. 

In this blog post, we’ll discuss some of the symptoms of a failing air conditioner capacitor and what you can do to address the problem. We’ll also answer some common questions about AC capacitors, such as how to test them and whether you can replace them yourself. 

What is an air conditioner capacitor? 

An air conditioner capacitor is a small, cylindrical device that stores electrical energy and helps the AC unit start up and run smoothly. It works by creating a charge imbalance between two metal plates inside the capacitor, which in turn creates an electrical field that helps start the compressor motor and fan. 

Symptoms of a failing air conditioner capacitor 

If your air conditioner capacitor is starting to  fail, you may notice some of the following symptoms: 

• Your air conditioner won’t turn on or takes a long time to start up 

• Your AC unit makes a humming or buzzing sound but doesn’t start up

• Your AC unit turns off by itself or trips the circuit breaker 

• Your air conditioner blows warm air instead of cool air 

• Your AC unit runs louder than usual 

If you notice any of these symptoms, addressing the issue as soon as possible is important to  avoid further damage to your air conditioner. 

How to test an air conditioner capacitor? 

To test an air conditioner capacitor, you’ll need a multimeter, which is a device that measures electrical current, voltage, and resistance. Here are the steps to test an AC capacitor: 

1. Turn off the power to your air conditioner. 

2. Locate the capacitor, which is usually a small cylinder or oval-shaped device with wires  attached to it. 

3. Discharge the capacitor by touching the terminals with an insulated screwdriver. 4. Set your multimeter to the capacitance setting. 

5. Touch the multimeter leads to the capacitor terminals. 

6. The multimeter should show a reading that’s within 10% of the capacitor’s rated capacitance. If the reading is outside this range, the capacitor is faulty and needs to be replaced. 

Can I run my air conditioner with a bad capacitor? 

It’s not recommended to run your air  conditioner with a bad capacitor because it can cause damage to other components of the AC 

unit, such as the compressor motor. In addition, a faulty capacitor can increase your energy bills and reduce the lifespan of your air conditioner. 

What is the average life of an air conditioner capacitor? 

The average lifespan of an air conditioner capacitor is around ten years. However, factors such as temperature, humidity, and usage can affect the lifespan of your capacitor. It’s a good idea to have your capacitor checked during your annual AC maintenance to ensure it’s in good working order. 

Can I replace my air conditioner capacitor myself? 

While it’s possible to replace your air conditioner capacitor yourself, it’s only recommended if you have experience working with electrical components. Capacitors store electrical energy and can be dangerous if not handled properly. It’s best to leave capacitor replacement to a professional HVAC technician. 

How much does it cost to replace an air conditioner capacitor? 

The cost of replacing an air  conditioner capacitor can vary depending on the size and type of capacitor, as well as the labor  costs of the HVAC technician. On average, you can expect to pay between $200 and $400 for a  capacitor replacement. 

What causes an air conditioner capacitor to fail?  

There are several factors that can cause an air conditioner capacitor to fail, including: 

• Age and wear and tear 

• Overheating due to high temperatures or lack of airflow 

• Voltage spikes or power surges 

• Corrosion or damage to the capacitor terminals 

• Exposure to moisture or humidity 

Regular AC maintenance can help prevent capacitor failure by identifying and addressing any  issues before they become major problems. 

How do I reset my air conditioner capacitor? 

If your air conditioner capacitor has tripped or  shut off due to a power surge or other issue, you may be able to reset it by turning off the  power to your AC unit and waiting a few minutes before turning it back on. If the capacitor  continues to trip, it may be faulty and need to be replaced. 

Will a bad capacitor cause a compressor to fail? 

Yes, a bad air conditioner capacitor can cause  the compressor to fail if it’s not addressed promptly. The compressor is one of the most  expensive components of your air conditioner, so it’s important to take care of any issues with  your capacitor as soon as possible to avoid costly repairs or replacements. 

In conclusion, understanding the symptoms of a failing air conditioner capacitor and knowing how to address the issue can help you keep your AC unit running smoothly and efficiently. If you’re experiencing any issues with your air conditioner, contact Stay Cool Climate Control for professional AC repair and maintenance services in O Fallon, MO.

Scroll to Top