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Can a Bad Capacitor Hurt My Air Conditioner?

To learn about the negative effects of a bad capacitor, you must first understand what a capacitor is and how it functions. A capacitor is one of the most essential parts of the electrical system in your air conditioner. Without it, the motors that power the compressor and the fans wouldn’t be able to function.

Think of capacitors like short-term batteries. They are small, cylindrical objects that have the ability to store energy within an electrostatic field. They are attached to motors, and either send a jolt to start up the motor (start capacitor), or a regular series of jolts (run capacitor) to keep the motor running. In your AC system, capacitors work with three different motors. These are the compressor, the blower motor, and the outside fan.

What Happens When It Fails?

A capacitor can go bad after sustaining damage from excess power. They can eventually wear down to the point where they can no longer hold a charge. As this happens, you’ll typically hear a clicking sound from within the cabinet. If this occurs, you’ll want to call a professional right away before your motor stops working.

No matter which capacitor it is, if it dies then the motor to which it was attached will still attempt to come on, but you’ll notice a hum instead of your system activating. The longer you let this go, the more of a chance there is that the motor will burn out and require full replacement.

As a capacitor connected to the compressor begins to weaken and fail, “hard starting” will occur. This is when your AC struggles to turn on and then shuts off again soon after. This places a lot of stress on the compressor as well as other components of your air conditioner. It’s important that you have a professional HVAC technician check this out right away.

Contact Southeast Air & Heat today for air conditioning repair in Conway, FL!

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