Capacitors Provide Additional Power To Your AC Motors, And They Need To Be Replaced If They Go Bad

One of the more common AC repairs is replacing a bad capacitor. Capacitors are often used in equipment to help motors start. That's because a motor draws more power to start up than it uses once the motor is running. A capacitor's job is to supply the extra power needed to start up, but some capacitors also help the motor run too. Here's how capacitors help your air conditioner operate.

Your AC Has At Least Two Capacitors

Your AC has one capacitor in the air handler to start the blower motor and one in the condenser to start the fan motor and compressor. The condenser may have both a start and run capacitor. The capacitors look like silver cylinders, and they're usually easy to see as soon as you open the air handler or condenser.

Power is sent to the capacitor first so it can add supplemental power to the motor when the motor kicks on. It can do this because a capacitor stores energy. A capacitor can give you an electric shock even if the power to your AC is shut off, and that's why attempting DIY AC repair can be dangerous if you don't know how to work with a capacitor.

The Motor May Not Start When A Capacitor Is Bad

One sign of a bad capacitor is when the blower or fan won't startup. The motor may not have enough power to start and turn on the equipment. Sometimes, the motor may struggle to start and run. In that case, you might notice odd noises coming from your AC.

The strain of struggling to start might cause the motor to burn out, so it's important to repair the capacitor when it's bad. The repair technician can test the capacitor with a multimeter to determine if it's bad and needs to be replaced.

Replacing A Capacitor Is An Easy AC Repair

Since the capacitor is easy to reach and work with, it's fairly easy to replace one. The capacitor is usually held in place with a bracket, and it's attached to a few wires. The AC repair technician discharges the capacitor first to avoid the risk of shock. Then, they disconnect the wiring and replace the capacitor.

Capacitors come with different power ratings. It's important to choose a new capacitor with the right voltage and capacitance. This information is printed on the side of the capacitor, and that makes it easy to get an exact match so your AC operates properly once the new capacitor is in place. 

Contact a local AC repair company for more info.