How Can You Tell When an AC Capacitor is Bad?
Living in Florida, air conditioners are as essential to comfortable living as having food on the table every night. This is why, when the AC suddenly has issues, it’s easy to spiral through a long list of questions: Why isn’t my AC cooling? Why is it making that noise? Is it still under warranty? Is this going to be expensive?
Before you spend the rest of the day imagining every potential unpleasant scenario, we’ll try to address a common one: a bad capacitor.
What is an AC capacitor?
Every item that operates with a motor has a capacitor. It’s a small cylinder-shaped component that charges the motor. The capacitor for an air conditioner is located inside the condenser unit (the big part of your AC that sits outside your home or business), and it can lose power with regular wear and tear.
How to tell if the AC capacitor broken.
There are several signs that an air conditioning capacitor may need TLC:
– It sometimes takes a while from the moment you turn on your AC until it actually starts up.
– There’s a humming sound coming from your air conditioning unit.
– The AC sometimes completely shuts off on its own (and it’s not part of the regular cooling cycle).
– The unit won’t start at all.
In addition to these scenarios, you could simply walk outside and look through the air vents of the condenser unit at the fan inside. Is it not spinning despite the fact that the AC is on? If not, you have a capacitor issue.
How can I test the AC capacitor?
If you have a multimeter (or a friend who will lend you one), you could test the charge coming from the capacitor. Before you attempt to do this, shut off the power to your air conditioner. Don’t just turn off the unit, but also turn off the circuit breaker. Not doing so could result in electrocution.
Another way to know, just from a visual inspection, whether the capacitor needs to be replaced is if the cylinder is bulging or leaking.
If your air conditioner is relatively new, it makes sense to simply replace the part (make sure that you buy a replacement with the appropriate voltage requirements for your air conditioner). However, according to the Department of Energy, the average lifespan of an air conditioner is between 15 and 20 years. So if yours is nearing the latter end of that spectrum, you’ll be better off investing in a new unit.
Call our HVAC professionals at A Plus Air Conditioning and let us help you!
No matter the issue with your air conditioner, we can assist you. We provide services throughout north central Florida. And because we understand that a working air conditioner is essential in Florida, we offer 24/7 AC emergency service.
Call us at (352) 374-4988 and let us get your AC back to proper working order.