An air conditioner capacitor is an essential part of an air conditioning system.
It provides the electrical charge necessary to run components in your air conditioner unit. This includes parts like the fan motor, blower motor, and air handler.
But when it comes to replacing a bad capacitor, many people wonder if they can do it themselves or if they should leave this task to a professional.
The truth is that while air conditioner capacitor replacement may seem like a simple job on the surface, there are risks involved.
In other words, it’s not a job recommended for DIYers.
In this article, we’ll explore why AC capacitor replacement should be left to professionals.
Furthermore, we’ll give you an overview of what you need to know about run capacitors and AC sizes before attempting any repairs.
We’ll also teach you how to tell when your AC capacitor needs replacing in the first place.
Keep reading to learn more about your AC capacitor.
What is a Capacitor and How Does It Work?
An air conditioner capacitor is an electrical component used in an air conditioning unit to store and release energy.
An AC capacitor can come in three types: the start capacitor, run capacitor, and dual-run capacitor.
Start capacitors are used to start AC motors. When the AC motor first starts, it requires a large surge of energy to get going.
The start capacitor is designed to provide this initial burst of power.
The AC run capacitor provides a continuous flow of electrical current while the AC motor is running and helps maintain its speed.
If a run capacitor needs replacing, the AC motor may struggle to perform or stop working altogether.
A dual-run capacitor is a combination of the start and run capacitors. This type of AC capacitor is used when two AC motors are needed, such as in a central air unit.
Can I Replace an Air Conditioner Capacitor Myself?
The short answer is no. AC capacitor replacement should only be done by a licensed AC technician as there are risks involved.
For starters, the AC capacitor contains hazardous materials like oil and gas which can cause serious injury or health problems if mishandled.
Plus, the AC capacitor comes in different sizes depending on the voltage of your AC unit and voltage is not something you want to mess around with.
Finally, the AC capacitor is often located in tight spaces where it can be difficult to access and even more difficult to safely install.
As such, AC capacitor replacement should always be done by a professional AC technician.
How Often Should You Replace Your AC Capacitor?
The lifespan of AC capacitors varies from unit to unit, but generally speaking, they should be tested and replaced every 20 years or so.
If your air conditioner unit is older than 20 years, it’s a good idea to have it checked by a professional AC technician who can inspect the capacitor and replace it if necessary.
Reasons for Failing Air Conditioner Capacitor
Air conditioner capacitors can fail for a number of reasons. The most common causes include age, voltage overload, excess heat, and contamination.
Let’s take a deeper look into each reason:
Air conditioner capacitors wear out over time and eventually need to be replaced. They usually last for several years, but it is important to check them regularly.
If your AC capacitor starts showing signs of wear and tear, it should be replaced soon.
AC systems can experience voltage fluctuations which can cause AC capacitor failure.
One way of preventing overloads is through overload protection relays.
Such relays allow short-term overloads to occur, but they monitor the system and will trip a protective device if an overload situation persists for too long.
Having this failsafe helps ensure that no part of the system gets over-taxed.
It also helps you avoid any potential hazards related to prolonged electrical overloading.
AC capacitors are sensitive to high temperatures and can fail if they reach a certain temperature threshold.
One of the best methods for preventing excessive heat in air conditioning capacitors is diligent maintenance and monitoring.
You should inspect your system regularly and check for any buildup or signs of wear or tear on the system’s capacitor.
It is also important to ensure that all vents are clear to allow proper ventilation as blocked vents can cause the unit’s capacitor to overheat and become damaged.
Ensuring proper insulation around the unit and keeping it out of direct sunlight will also help in reducing the heat generated and circulated within the system.
Air conditioner capacitors can also fail due to contamination.
AC capacitors should be kept clean at all times and should never come into contact with liquids, dirt, or dust.
This is because these contaminants can cause corrosion and wear on the AC capacitor which will eventually lead to its failure.
Signs Your AC Unit Needs a New Capacitor
It’s not always obvious when your AC capacitor needs replacing. However, some signs that indicate you may need AC capacitor replacement include:
- AC unit is failing to start or run properly
- AC unit is making loud noises or buzzing sounds
- AC unit blows warm air instead of cool air
- AC capacitor is inflated like a balloon
- AC capacitor is leaking oil
If you think your AC unit might need a new capacitor, it’s best to have a professional AC technician take a look.
How Much Would a New Air Conditioner Capacitor Cost?
Air conditioner capacitor cost varies depending on the size and make of your AC unit.
On average, AC capacitors range in price from $10 to $50. However, larger AC units may require more expensive AC capacitors, increasing the total cost of capacitor replacement.
The cost of capacitor replacement can also vary based on the AC system’s age and model, as older AC systems may require more specialized AC capacitors than newer models.
It’s important to note that this cost does not include labor costs.
Getting professional capacitor replacement services can be expensive upfront. However, the benefits of making this investment far outweigh its drawbacks.
With professional assistance, you can rest assured that your capacitor replacement job is done right the first time.
What Should You Do If Your Air Conditioner Capacitor Fails?
Again, if your AC capacitor fails, it’s important not to attempt capacitor replacement yourself.
Installing a new capacitor in your air conditioner is a complex process that requires specialized knowledge and tools.
Attempting AC capacitor replacement on your own can cause additional damage to both the AC unit and your home.
The best course of action is to contact a qualified AC technician to assess the AC system and determine if AC capacitor replacement is necessary.
The technician will be able to provide an accurate assessment of your AC unit’s condition and suggest the best course of action.
If AC capacitor replacement is required, they can help you select the right AC capacitor for your AC unit and provide professional AC capacitor replacement services.
How Much Time Does It Take to Replace an AC Capacitor?
The amount of time required to install a replacement capacitor depends on the AC unit and the AC technician’s experience.
Typically, AC capacitor replacement can be completed in a few hours or less.
However, if your AC unit is older and more complex, AC capacitor replacement may take longer.
In some cases, AC capacitor replacement may take several hours or even days to complete, depending on the AC unit’s complexity and any additional repairs needed.
It’s always best to contact a qualified AC technician as soon as you notice signs of AC capacitor failure. This way, you can avoid costly delays and damages.
Do I Need to Replace Both Capacitors at the Same Time?
No, you don’t have to replace the run capacitor and start capacitor at the same time. You can replace each capacitor as needed.
Keep in mind that AC capacitor failure can be a symptom of a larger underlying problem with your AC unit.
If one AC capacitor is failing, there may be an issue with another component or system in your AC unit.
If you need AC capacitor replacement, be sure to contact a qualified professional for assistance.
Allow Us to Help
AC capacitor replacement is a complex and potentially dangerous task.
Attempting to replace an ac capacitor without the proper knowledge or training can result in further damage to your AC unit and home, as well as expensive repair costs.
At CPI Plumbing, we employ experienced AC technicians who specialize in AC capacitor replacement services.
We are committed to offering our customers quality AC repair services at an affordable price.
If you need AC capacitor replacement, contact us today to speak with a qualified AC technician and get your AC unit in tiptop condition.
Professional HVAC Maintenance and Repair Services
At CPI Plumbing, we understand how important your comfort and safety at home are.
That’s why we offer a range of accessible AC maintenance and repair services in Mount Vernon.
No matter what kind of AC system you have, our experienced AC technicians are ready to provide quality service at an affordable price.
Contact us today at (360) 822-9306 to get a free quote.