Chances are that unless you have had a problem with a capacitor in your air conditioner, you have no idea what this actually is. A failing anything within your cooling system is bad though, so naturally you want to have the problem remedied right away. Keep reading to learn more about this vital component and the problems your air conditioner can face if they fail.
Essential Electrical Components for Your Air Conditioner
There are actually a number of electronic devices and appliances that utilize capacitors. In your air conditioner, the job of the capacitor is to send voltage to the motors that power the compressor and the two sets of fans needed for your cooling system to operate. The “start” capacitor sends the volts to start up the motor, while the “run” capacitor, as you might have guessed by now, provides continuous voltage to keep the motor running.
A capacitor can begin losing its ability to hold an electrical charge, particularly after long exposure to summer heat, which will eventually lead to its failure. This is what we mean by a capacitor “failing” or “going bad.” If any of your capacitors in the cooling system fail, the system’s performance will suffer. It’s likely your AC won’t work at all.
For instance, if the compressor won’t start because the motor isn’t receiving voltage from the start capacitor, then the air conditioner won’t be able to cool the home.
“How Do I Know If My Capacitors Are Failing?”
You want to catch early signs of a failing capacitor so that you can have professionals fix the problem, before your AC fans shut off or the compressor stops. One indication to keep an eye out for—or rather, an ear out for—is a clicking noise coming from the cabinet of the AC when it starts up, or while it is running.
This can mean you have a capacitor near failure. Also, watch for a “hard-starting” compressor—that is, when a compressor has a tough time turning on. There are a number of potential causes for this, but none of them are good—so even if it’s not a failed capacitor it’s still a good idea to get in touch with our pros right away.
“Can I Fix My Capacitors On My Own?”
We have to discourage against this, mostly because it’s electrical components you are then dealing with, inside a complex piece of machinery. You might unintentionally make things worse, and may not even know if the capacitor is actually to blame for your AC problems, or which capacitor is actually the problem.
If you suspect a failing capacitor, the best thing you can do is to call in a licensed and trained HVAC professional. We can accurately pinpoint the specific problem. If it is the capacitors, then a technician will replace the affected components. If it’s something else causing your cooling system trouble, we’ll address that too. This is an added benefit of hiring a pro rather than an amateur, you’ll know the problem will be taken care of as it should.