Air ConditioningResidential

What is an Air Conditioning Capacitor?

By July 23, 2020 August 26th, 2020 No Comments

Air Conditioning CapacitorWhen you experience a problem with your air conditioner, you do what everyone does, you begin looking for a fix. As you search the mighty Google, you come across countless articles about what could be wrong. The one thing you continually see is a recommendation to replace your AC capacitor.

So you begin searching for tutorials on how to replace this seemingly inexpensive part of your air conditioning unit. As you continue researching, you have this nagging question whether this is in fact the problem.

The capacitor is an incredibly important component but is not the only thing that can go wrong. So let’s dig into how you can tell whether this is the problem and what you can do to help your air conditioner in Clarksville. (continue below)

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What Is a Capacitor?

A capacitor is an electrical component that stores electricity to deliver a large charge when needed. When we think about an air conditioner, this charge is needed to start the condenser and condenser fan. They can also be useful to help keep the system running. Most air conditioners have two capacitors, one at the condenser and one at the evaporator.

AC capacitors are temporary components, meaning they are prone to wearing out before the end of your system’s service life. So it is logical to think that if there is a problem, it may be time to replace one of these components.

 

Signs of a Failing AC Capacitor

There are several signs you can look for to know whether it is time for this work.

One of the most commonly reported symptoms of failing capacitors is a humming sound coming from either the outdoor unit or the indoor air handler. This could range from quiet to very loud and may be accompanied by your unit not running.

Other common symptoms include:

  • Your AC not producing cold air.
  • It takes a while to start once you turn it on.
  • It will not turn on at all.
  • There is a click sound coming from either the condenser or air handler.
  • Your system short cycling.

All of these symptoms can be caused by other things as well, so it is important to investigate the root problem.

 

Evaluating Your AC System

The best way to know whether you are going to need new ones is to properly evaluate what you already have. One easy test is to look at your condenser fan. If it is not spinning, take a stick and give the fan blades a little push. If the fan continues to run on its own, you have a good indication that this is the problem.

However, there are also other tests you can perform to confirm this problem. If you know a little about electrical circuits and have a multi-meter, you can do a better diagnostic test. First, start by conducting a visual inspection.

If the fluid is leaking out, it is bad, no need to go any further. If the top, where the connectors are, is pushed up, it is bad or on its way to failing. This is sometimes referred to as a mushroom top because it resembles the cap of a mushroom.

Finally, if the top is wet, but nothing else in the compartment is wet, then it is likely bad.

If none of these are the case, then you will want to a capacitance test with your multi-meter. There are plenty of videos available to show you how to conduct this test.

 

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Warning About Working on it Yourself

This is where you need to understand the danger of trying to work on your air conditioner yourself. Sure, it seems like it should be a simple job to pull out a simple component and replace it right?

Your air conditioner runs 240 volts through it, which is enough to kill you if you do not know what you are doing. This is why many people choose to find a licensed air conditioning technician in Clarksville rather than trying to work on it themselves.

 

What You Can Do

Aside from calling a licensed air conditioning technician, which may be the best option, you can do some simple work to begin the process. As mentioned above, there are some symptoms that will tell you pretty concretely if one of your capacitors is bad.

If you want to visually inspect them, be sure to kill the power to the unit and properly discharge the capacitors before doing anything else. To kill the power, you may need to trip a breaker in your breaker box.

Your outside unit likely has a breaker of some form. In many cases, this is a plate you will pull out. This will help keep you safe as you work.

 

Call an Experienced Professional if Your System is Malfunctioning

Do you have an extremely old system? Are you seeing or hearing things that weren’t there before? If you suspect that the system is not working properly, you should call a professional as soon as possible.

A few signs that the system is in trouble include abnormal noises or smells, an extremely cold home, expensive bills, and frequent shutoffs. Regardless of the concern, an experienced professional can solve the problem and perform the necessary repairs before an emergency occurs.

Prevention and AC Tune-up costs are much more reasonable than having a costly repair later. Whether you live in Clarksville, TN or somewhere close by, the professionals at DOC Heating and Cooling are ready to help. The highly-trained technicians are available 24/7 for emergency calls and for regular maintenance to help keep your heating & cooling system running smoothly.

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Whether you live in Clarksville, TN or somewhere close by we are ready to help. Our highly trained technicians are available 24/7 to keep your heating & cooling system running smoothly.

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