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After spending time under the hot summer sun, one of the best feelings is walking into an air-conditioned home. One of the major components that make this possible is the air conditioner capacitor. 

What is an AC Capacitor?

The AC capacitor looks like a small, cylinder-shaped battery that’s housed in the indoor unit of the HVAC system or heat pump. It’s the spark that powers the air conditioner motors. Its primary function is to send a surge of electricity to initiate the AC unit’s operation, then maintain a lower level of energy to keep the system running until the desired temperature is reached.

Signs of a Failing AC Capacitor

When it’s time to replace an AC capacitor, you may experience any one of the following signs:

  • AC cooling cycle is delayed
  • AC unit shuts off on its own
  • AC doesn’t turn on at all
  • AC sounds like it’s running but doesn’t dispense cool air
  • AC makes a buzzing or humming noise
  • You notice a burning smell or smoke coming from your AC unit
  • Energy bills are inexplicably high

There are many reasons a capacitor may fail, including age and normal wear and tear, an unidentified short circuit, an overheated system, lighting strikes or power surges, or scorching temperatures.

Effects of a Bad AC Capacitor

When your AC capacitor isn’t working correctly, the temperature in your home will begin to rise. You might not notice the other effects but they’re detrimental to your system. When the capacitor fails, the outdoor unit stops functioning correctly, which means the cooling process can’t be performed. Damage to other parts of the unit can occur due to improper voltage. Other components will also begin to overwork to attempt to make up for the failed capacitor. This can result in an unexpected increase in your energy bill due to the spike in energy demands.

How Long Do AC Capacitors Last?

The lifespan of an AC capacitor can vary depending on the brand and model. However, the average AC capacitor lasts about ten years. Routine maintenance on your HVAC unit will help ensure that your AC capacitor lasts as long as possible.

It’s Best to Hire a Professional

Your HVAC system can’t work correctly without an AC capacitor, so installing a faulty or failing AC capacitor should be left to professionals. At Sky Air and Heat, our highly skilled and background-checked technicians have the experience and knowledge necessary to ensure your HVAC system is working properly. We can also have your system up and running on the same day! Contact us to schedule an appointment today!