Dealing with a Failing AC Capacitor

Air conditioning systems deliver reliable cooling performance when their capacitors are in good shape. The capacitor is the component that stores energy in an electrostatic field. It stabilizes voltage and gives the motors of your air conditioner the necessary jolt to get them started. Capacitors generally come in two separate types: the start capacitor, which turns on your AC, and the run capacitor, which keeps it in operation. When the capacitors start failing, this can lead to a host of problems. Reliable Air Conditioning & Heating, a trusted expert in heating and air conditioning services in the area, discusses more here.

ac capacitor check

What Causes AC Capacitors to Fail?

There are a couple of reasons the capacitors in your air conditioner can fail. Knowing the exact cause will ensure the issue will be dealt with using the appropriate solution. Capacitors may fail due to:

  • Overheating. The fact is that AC capacitors are sensitive to heat, either because the AC is exposed to sunlight or the system is running too hard for too long. 
  • Power surges. The chance of lightning striking your AC during a storm is low–but it’s still there. Such a rapid surge of electricity could cause the AC’s electrical system to overload and burn out. There are also weak power surges, which result from fluctuations in the power grid and can damage your AC capacitors over time.
  • Age. In some cases, the reason capacitors fail is because both they and the cooling system are already too old. In this case, it’s time to invest in a new air conditioning installation for your home.

What Happens When AC Capacitors Fail?

Your air conditioner will be more prone to malfunctions if its capacitors are failing. Not only that, the motors may still attempt to start even if the capacitors aren’t working. This can lead to overheating in the motors, which in turn can cause them to burn out. You’ll probably need new motors after that. When failing capacitors are overlooked, replacing the entire AC unit also becomes more than a possibility, 

What Should You Do When the Capacitors Start Failing?

There are a couple of noticeable warning signs. “Hard starting” is one, which occurs when the compressor has difficulty starting up–and if it does start up, it shuts off a short while later. If you start hearing a humming or a clicking noise, this may also indicate failure in the capacitors. Call a trusted HVAC professional like Reliable Air Conditioning & Heating immediately in this case. Failing capacitors can easily be replaced and, when caught early, this will prevent serious damage to the AC system. Scheduling preventive HVAC maintenance and service will also help you avoid this problem.

In addition to providing effective indoor air quality solutions, Reliable Air Conditioning & Heating can also work on your AC needs. When it seems like the capacitor in your cooling system has an issue, turn to us promptly for a comprehensive inspection. We’ll recommend the necessary fix depending on what we find. Call us today at (818) 423-4285 or fill out this contact form to schedule your HVAC evaluation. We proudly serve the areas in and around North Hollywood, CA.

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