Your air conditioning unit comprises various components that ensure your home is comfortable, especially during summer. Knowing how these components work together can be a critical step toward diagnosing which component might be defective or not running. Most AC repair technicians inspect things like the condenser, refrigerant leaks, evaporators, or even the blower motor, but only a few check the capacitor.
This article will consider what a capacitor is, its various types, and what it does. You will also learn why the AC capacitor might fail or even malfunction. This minor component is primarily responsible for various problems that result in a need for air conditioning repairs. Fortunately, a capacitor rarely fails, and when it does, air conditioning capacitors are fairly inexpensive, meaning they are quick and easy to fix.
What’s an AC Capacitor?
It is a small cylindrical component of your air conditioner found within your AC unit’s cabinet. To reach it, you will require special tools and equipment. Further, you will have to disassemble your air conditioner. For this reason, you should leave any capacitor-related HVAC problems to a reliable air conditioning repair technician or company. In essence, the capacitor functions like a rechargeable battery.
It is in charge of providing electrical energy to the AC unit and storing electrical energy that can be used to jumpstart the AC unit. Usually, 400 volts to 600 volts are needed for this. Your AC unit won’t switch on if the capacitor isn’t working. Your air conditioning system, its size, and the size of your home all play a part in determining how many capacitors it contains. The air conditioning repair technicians in Frisco, TX, will inspect your air conditioning unit to offer you a good idea of what you should expect.
Types of Air Conditioning System Capacitors
Your Air conditioning system has two distinct types of capacitors. Additionally, the main AC capacitor types have different subtypes with different functionalities. Below are the main types of AC capacitors:
Start capacitors generate the electricity required for starting the motor & the fans. These capacitors only activate for as long as necessary to keep the AC unit working. Start capacitors automatically disengage once the air conditioning system is running and wait until they are required again.
Super Boost Capacitors and Turbo Capacitors are some terms you may be familiar with. Technically, these aren’t capacitors. They resemble the jumpstart kits installed in your vehicle.
These capacitors can provide an even greater boost. Still, they are often only employed in exceptional circumstances, such as when the compressor refuses to start or when you are experiencing an electrical problem. Whenever your starter motor fails, your AC unit might not start. Hence, you might be forced to call an air conditioning repair technician or company for a further inspection.
Compared to the start AC capacitors, the run capacitors are used more. This is because the run capacitors run the entire time your air conditioning system runs. The run capacitor creates a magnetic field that keeps the motor coils running over the entire operation. Unlike the start capacitors, the run capacitors are of two different types: the dual-stage run and the single-stage run capacitors.
One motor or device can be started and powered using single-stage run capacitors. At the top, the single-stage run capacitors feature two terminals. Contrarily, dual-stage run capacitors may operate more components and are typically found in AC systems with condensing units. The top of dual-stage run capacitors features three terminals. Like the start capacitors, the run capacitors also might run into problems. Since they are electrical components, you must leave their repair to a licensed air conditioning repair technician or company.
Why Do AC Capacitors Fail?
As observed, the start or run capacitors do a pretty tough job. For this reason, they are exposed to lots of wear and tear. Additionally, their work will take a physical toll on them. As a result, the air conditioning capacitors might fail long before the other components fail. It is also not unusual for the air conditioning capacitors to constantly fail and require frequent repairs compared to other parts of your air conditioning system.
Since the AC unit might even fail to run if the capacitors are faulty or not working, they should be among the things that are inspected when a professional comes to your Frisco, TX, home for air conditioning repairs or service. So, why would the AC capacitors fail? Below are some reasons why these essential charge-storing devices might malfunction.
When They Are Getting Older
The lifespan of a capacitor is the same as that of everything else in life. At one point, it will end and require a replacement. The average lifespan of an AC capacitor is roughly 20 years. Because of its relatively lengthy lifespan, you should have an air conditioning repair technician or company regularly inspect it when they come for an air conditioning service. That stated, a capacitor’s lifespan can be shortened for several reasons. For instance, the capacitor will deteriorate more quickly if the air conditioning unit cycles faster than usual because it is working much harder.
If the AC Capacitor Is Exposed to a Lot of Heat
Due to their high heat sensitivity, AC capacitors are often located far inside the air conditioning unit. This component will become less able to maintain an electrical charge when it gets hot. The capacitor’s efficiency may suffer as a result. In the worst instance, it can also result in the capacitor failing. Most heating and air conditioning repair professionals will advise you to replace the item with a new one if this occurs.
It’s crucial to remember that excessive temperatures can seriously damage your air conditioning unit in its entirety, besides drastically shortening the lifespan of your air conditioning capacitor. Because of this reason, it is always a great idea to install the air conditioning system in a shaded area whenever possible. Additionally, you must regularly clean the filters. If you do not, the hot air might get trapped within your air conditioning system, resulting in AC capacitor failure.
The AC Capacitor Has the Wrong Voltage Rating
Like other electrical components, air conditioning capacitors have different types and ratings. Whenever conducting air conditioning repairs, you must ensure that the specifications of the new AC capacitor match those of the older one. At times, inexperienced repair technicians or some Frisco, TX, homeowners looking to save some bucks through DIY repairs might install AC capacitors of the wrong rating. Besides being dangerous, this also might result in faulty air conditioning capacitors. Hence, always have a trained and licensed professional replace the capacitor or perform any air conditioner repairs. Doing this will ensure your warranty remains intact, you are not exposing yourself to various risks, and the underlying issue is resolved by a professional.
If the air conditioning system has an undersized capacitor, it might not necessarily hurt or damage your air conditioning unit. However, the AC capacitor will take on a larger job than it is supposed to handle. It means that its service life will significantly reduce, and you will have to call an air conditioning repair technician for other inspections and fixes sooner rather than later. Thus, ensure that you enlist a reliable technician to replace the capacitor. They know to check the current and voltage ratings that align with your AC unit’s power rating requirements.
How to Tell Something Is Amiss With Your AC Capacitor Coils
A working air conditioning system has many revolving parts. As a result, narrowing down to what component might be affected could prove a difficult endeavor. Since an AC capacitor has an incredibly long service life, it usually is the last part that an AC repair technician checks. That being said, below are some signs that should tell you it is time to call an air conditioning repair technician for a further inspection of your AC capacitor.
Whenever You Hear an Uncharacteristic Humming Sound From Your AC Unit
It’s wise to become accustomed to the sound your air conditioner makes. You should immediately contact a heating and air conditioning repair specialist if your air conditioning unit makes strange noises. Your AC capacitor may fail if you notice an odd humming noise from the AC unit. It is working long hours and having difficulty cooling your Frisco, TX home’s indoors, resulting in the strange humming noise you hear.
Your Air Conditioner Doesn’t Blow Cooled Air Into Your Indoor Space
Texan summers appear to be getting hotter each year; no wonder more and more homeowners are turning to their air conditioning systems to relieve the heat. If an air conditioning system isn’t blowing cooled air, that is a sign that it could have some defective parts. If the filter or the fan isn’t faulty, you might want to call an air conditioning repair company or technician for a further inspection. It could be that the AC capacitors are failing or the thermistor or the electronic control boards are damaged.
An Increase in the Electrical Utility Bills
This indicator of an AC capacitor failure is quite unusual. Many people are unaware that a malfunctioning AC capacitor may be to blame for a rise in the total amount of their energy bills. Your Air conditioning system will need to work much harder to completely cool your Frisco, TX, home if the AC capacitor is malfunctioning or damaged. Your energy bills should reflect that the unit will be using more electrical energy as a result.
It’s crucial to remember that an air conditioning capacitor won’t operate normally for one cycle before failing the next. Its performance will keep slowly deteriorating. Your utility expenses should continue to increase as a result. Hence, the next time you notice that the electrical utility bills are abnormally increasing, it might be time to call an air conditioning repair technician or company for a further inspection of your AC unit.
Whenever an AC Unit Doesn’t Immediately Turn On
As we’ve already said, the AC unit jumpstarts itself through a powerful jolt. A damaged or failing capacitor may potentially be the cause of the AC unit not turning on right away. It implies that much more energy is required to operate your AC capacitor. It might build up enough energy to switch on the AC unit. Once more, an air conditioning repair company or technician can inspect the AC capacitor and determine the issue.
The Air Conditioning System Shuts Down on Its Own
Since the AC capacitor powers the AC unit, the air conditioning unit will automatically shut off if there is a problem with the capacitor. This indicates that the AC capacitor no longer supplies enough energy to the appliance since it can no longer maintain a sufficient charge to support functioning. Generally, it would be best to have an air conditioning repair technician replace its capacitor immediately. Some of the AC repair companies in Frisco, TX, will examine how much life the AC capacitor still has.
The Air Conditioner Doesn’t Turn On
Basically, this adds up to the previously mentioned causes. Call an air conditioning repair professional if your air conditioner won’t turn on so they can check to determine if the capacitor is the reason. The capacitor has typically failed in such situations and needs to be replaced. It is irreparable.
The importance of a capacitor in an air conditioner cannot be overstated. If the electrical component fails, there is a high chance that your AC unit might not cool your home effectively, or worse, it might not even turn on. Therefore, you must ensure that the air conditioning repair technician inspects the capacitor when they come for a routine inspection and maintenance of your home. Do you need air conditioning repair or service for your Frisco, TX AC unit? Call us at One Hour Air Conditioning & Heating of Dallas.