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Bad AC Capacitor Symptoms: What Should I Watch For?

Some bad AC capacitor symptoms to watch for are warm air blowing out of your air vents, a humming noise or burning smell from the outdoor AC unit, unusually high electric bills, or your air conditioner starts turning off suddenly or not at all.

Your air conditioner is one of the most important appliances in your home. When it breaks down, it’s a big deal. AC capacitors are a major part of any air conditioning HVAC unit, and a failing AC capacitor can lead to an AC issue. 

If you’re Indianapolis air conditioning system experiencing any of the capacitor symptoms below, it may be time to replace your air conditioning capacitor. Williams Comfort Air explains more about the AC’s capacitor and the AC capacitor symptoms to look for. 

Where Is the AC Capacitor? 

The air conditioning system in a home has several important parts that work together to cool the air. One of these parts is the AC capacitor, which helps to start the compressor. The capacitor is usually located near the condenser unit by the compressor, and it may be mounted on the wall or on the ground. The exact location will vary depending on the type of air conditioning system. 

The AC capacitor is a vital part of the air conditioning system, as it helps to ensure that it runs smoothly and efficiently. It acts like a battery, providing the initial boost of power necessary to get the compressor started. Its job is to store energy and release it when needed to help power the system. 

The capacitor is made up of two metal plates that are separated by a dielectric material. When voltage is applied to the capacitor, an electric field is created that stores energy in the form of an electrostatic charge. This charge can then be released when needed to help power the system. 

How Long Does an Air Conditioning Capacitor Last? 

As anyone who has ever been without air conditioning on a hot day knows, a functional AC unit is essential for keeping cool. AC units use electrical components called capacitors to store energy and help the compressor run smoothly. Capacitors can last for a long time, but they will eventually need to be replaced. 

With regular air conditioning maintenance of the system, AC capacitors can last around 20 years. However, if the system is not properly maintained, the capacitors may fail prematurely. To avoid this, it is important to have the system serviced by a qualified technician on a regular basis. By following this simple advice, you can help ensure that your AC unit will keep you cool for many years to come. 

Bad AC Capacitor Symptoms 

If your air conditioning unit is in need of a replacement capacitor, there are some AC capacitor symptoms you’ll probably notice. These include: 

Warm Air

If your air conditioner is running, but does not blow cold air into your home, it could be the capacitor. If your air conditioner capacitor is bad, you may notice warm air blowing out of your vents. This is because the compressor isn’t able to start, thus the air conditioning system isn’t able to remove heat and transfer it outside. The warm air that is already in your ducts begins to circulate instead as the blower motor runs. 

Humming Noises

If the capacitor is damaged or worn out, it can cause the compressor to work harder than it should, which can lead to a humming noise coming from the access panel of the condenser unit. Such a sound may also be coming from the AC’s motor, so try turning the AC unit off and on once to see if that’s the case. If the humming noises continue, it’s probably coming from the capacitor. 

Burning Smell from Condenser Unit 

It’s never a good sign when your outdoor AC unit starts to produce a burning smell. In most cases, this indicates that the AC capacitor is bad. The capacitor is responsible for providing power to the AC compressor, so when it fails, the compressor can’t run properly. As a result, your AC unit won’t be able to cool your home effectively. 

Increased Energy Bills 

The capacitor is an important component in your AC unit because it provides the power necessary to start up the compressor. If the capacitor is damaged, it can cause the compressor to work overtime, resulting in higher energy bills. 

Air Conditioner Turns off Suddenly 

One of the most common causes of an air conditioner shutting off suddenly is a bad AC capacitor. The capacitor is a small, cylindrical component that helps to start and run the air conditioner. When the capacitor goes bad, it can cause the air conditioner to shut off abruptly. 

Air Conditioner Unit Doesn’t Turn on 

So, your air conditioner is on the fritz and you’re not sure what the problem is. One possible culprit is a bad AC capacitor. The capacitor is a small, cylindrical component that helps to start the compressor by providing a high-voltage jolt of electricity. If your AC capacitor is bad, you may notice that your air conditioner takes a long time to turn on or doesn’t turn on at all. In some cases, the damage to the air conditioner’s capacitor may be severe enough to prevent the compressor from starting at all. 

Aging HVAC System 

If your air conditioning system is older and struggling with the cooling cycle, it’s likely that the AC capacitor has worn out over time. The capacitor is an important part of the AC system, and when it goes bad, the system can’t function properly. As a result, your home will be less comfortable and your energy bills will increase. 

What Causes These Bad AC Capacitor Symptoms? 

A capacitor is an electrical component that helps to store and release energy in an AC system. In a sense, it acts like a battery, providing the power needed to keep the system running. One of the most common causes of a bad capacitor is overheated system circuitry. 

This can happen if the system is not properly ventilated or if there is a build-up of dust and debris on the components. Power surges and lightning strikes can also damage the capacitor, causing it to overheat. In addition, extremely high outdoor temperatures can lead to capacitor failure. Finally, over time, even the best capacitor will eventually wear out and need to be replaced. 

Can My Air Conditioner Run on a Bad Capacitor?

Over time, the capacitor can become corroded or damaged, which can prevent it from working properly. While your HVAC system may still run, it’s not wise to continue using the cooling cycle until an AC capacitor replacement is installed. If the problem is not resolved, it could lead to more serious issues, such as compressor failure. Other components inside air conditioners can sustain damage, too, due to a faulty capacitor. In some cases, a bad capacitor can also cause the AC unit to overheat, which can lead to system failure. 

If you suspect that your AC capacitor is bad, it’s important to have it replaced by a qualified technician as soon as possible. Otherwise, you could be facing costly repairs down the line. AC capacitor replacement cost will vary depending on the make and model of your AC unit, as well as the type of capacitor that needs to be replaced. However, in most cases, the replacement cost will be around a couple hundred dollars. 

How HVAC Experts Diagnose a Failing AC Capacitor 

Many people don’t realize that their air conditioner has a capacitor until it goes bad. A capacitor is a small, cylindrical component that helps to provide a power boost to the motor in your AC unit. The capacitor stores energy and then releases it as needed to help the motor start and run smoothly. If the capacitor goes bad, it can cause the air conditioner to short-circuit or overheat, leading to a breakdown. 

Fortunately, diagnosing a bad AC capacitor is relatively straightforward for a trained HVAC technician. They will use a multimeter to test the voltage rating across the capacitor terminals. If the voltage reading is too low, then the capacitor is most likely defective and needs to be replaced. With a simple test, an HVAC technician can quickly diagnose a bad AC capacitor and get your air conditioner running again. 

If the old capacitor inside your air conditioner is failing, there may be visual clues upon inspection. Some visual signs of a bad capacitor include bulging, cracks, and fluids coming out of the casing. 

How Is the AC Capacitor Replaced? 

Replacing an AC capacitor is a pretty straightforward process for an HVAC technician, and replacing a capacitor can be completed in less than an hour. First, they will identify the defective capacitor and disconnect it from the system. Next, they will remove the mounting bracket and wires from the old capacitor, being careful not to damage the surrounding components. 

Once the old capacitor is removed, the technician will install the new capacitor in its place and reconnect it to the system. Finally, they will test the new capacitor to make sure it is working properly. In most cases, the entire process can be completed in a matter of minutes. 

Schedule AC Service Today 

If you are in need of air conditioner repair in Indianapolis, the Williams Comfort Air team is here to help. We offer a wide range of services, from capacitor replacement to air conditioning installation, and we strive to provide quality service at an affordable price. Contact us today to schedule a repair appointment, and let us help you keep your home cool during the hot summer months. 

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