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The Capacitors in Your AC—What Can Go Wrong?

Hvac-wiresYour air conditioner is not a magic wand. It’s an electronic device that works with wires, switches, capacitors, and everything else that’s contained within our modern technology. So when something goes wrong, there’s usually a technical way to figure out what’s going on. Troubleshooting electrical devices isn’t rocket science.

Does that mean you should open that baby up and start pulling out wires? Of course not.

If your AC isn’t working, even if you’re positive it’s an electrical problem, you can always contact a professional for anything technical having to do with air conditioning in Katy, TX. That being said, sometimes curiosity can’t be stopped! How can we figure out if your AC problems are due to a bad capacitor? Let’s find out!

Bad Capacitor or Something Else?

First of all, if your air conditioner isn’t blowing out cold air, is short-cycling, or making strange noises, it could be for a multitude of different reasons. It might be a clogged filter, a refrigerant leak, or even that your air conditioner is the wrong size for your home. However, if you’ve replaced the filter and you’re sure it can’t be any other issue—it could be a bad capacitor.

What Is a Capacitor?

It’s an electrical component that works as a temporary battery for the motors. Capacitors store voltage and then send it to the motors. Most motors have two capacitors, one to start up the motor and one to keep it running. Capacitors are temporary components, meaning they may go bad and fail before the end of the AC’s system life.

Common Symptoms of a Bad Capacitor

  • AC is not blowing cold air.
  • AC takes a while to start once you turn it on.
  • There’s a humming sound coming from the AC.
  • It shuts off on its own.
  • It won’t turn on at all.
  • There is a clicking sound from the cabinet.

Do any of these sound familiar? If you’ve ruled out other problems, it could be a bad capacitor. Lucky for us, there are ways to evaluate your unit’s capacitor.

Assessing Your Capacitor

While your air conditioner is on, you can press a long, thin object (a wire or stick) through the vent and gently push one of the fan blades. If the fan continues to spin by itself, there’s your proof that you’ve got a faulty capacitor. In addition to this, there could be a humming noise coming from your unit while it’s not running, and this can also be a clue that you have a broken capacitor.

What Do I Do?

Well, you could try to replace the capacitor itself. You’ll want to choose a capacitor that is the right size, but more importantly, you’ll want to choose one that matches the correct voltage rating and microfarads. The microfarad will have to match exactly, but the voltage doesn’t have to match perfectly. But we don’t recommend you try this yourself, as even the smallest error can result in a powerful electric shock. Our team is here to handle the job of finding the right capacitor and replacing it correctly—without any safety concerns.

Here at AC Comfort, we’re pretty used to bad capacitors in air conditioners, as well as the slew of other things that could be wrong with it.

Contact us to replace your bad capacitor. At AC Comfort, your comfort is our business!

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