Why do air conditioner capacitors go bad

Air conditioners have many important components and capacitors are one of them. They provide an energy boost to your air conditioner units and help them with the startup process.

Does the capacitor of your AC frequently stop working? If yes, then you must be wondering that why do the air conditioner capacitors go bad? What causes an AC capacitor to go bad?

In this article, we have answers to all of your questions so let’s start exploring them right now!

What is the job of an AC capacitor?

You know that your air conditioner has a capacitor inside. But do you also know what is the job of that capacitor inside your AC unit?

Well, the job of an AC capacitor is to help the air conditioner when it is starting up. The capacitor stores energy in it. When the AC is turning on, it provides an extra boost of electricity to your AC and helps the motor fan/compressor to reach its maximum speed. This helps your air conditioner to start smoothly.

Once the job is done, the capacitor stops its function goes to rest until your start your air conditioner again the next time.

What causes the air conditioner capacitor to go bad?

If the capacitor of your air conditioner has gone bad, then you must be wondering that what are the possible reasons behind that?

Well, here are all the reasons that cause an air conditioner capacitor to go bad:

Physical damage

One of the most common reasons why the capacitor of your air conditioner goes bad is physical damage.

If the capacitor of your AC unit has been physically damaged due to some reasons like debris hitting the unit, then it will surely stop working normally.

Therefore, you can look for any signs of physical damage to the capacitor of your AC.

Lightning strike

If there has been a lightning strike on your house, then the intense power surge will damage the capacitor of your air conditioner unit.

Due to overheating

The capacitors of your air conditioner are very sensitive to overheating.

If your air conditioner is installed on a rooftop or somewhere else where it is exposed to sunlight, then the high temperature and overheating will damage the capacitor. Especially in summer, it is more likely to happen.

Similarly, electrical overheating is also one of the main reasons. If your air conditioner is working too hard for too long then it will get electrically heated and its capacitor will stop working.

Fluctuation in voltage

The capacitor of your air conditioner has a specific voltage rating. It can get damaged due to fluctuations in the voltage.

If there is a power surge and the voltage is too much (more than what your capacitor needs), then it will destroy the capacitor of your air conditioner and it will stop working.

Similarly, if there’s a voltage fluctuation and the voltage becomes too low, then it will also have a damaging impact on the capacitor of your air conditioner and it may stop working.

Wear and tear

When you use a machine for so long and so much time, then it is bound to break down due to wear and tear.

The same is the case with the capacitor of your air conditioner.

If you have been excessively using it for so long then it might break down due to wear and tear.

Age of capacitor

Capacitors have an age. Their ability to store and release electrical energy starts declining with time.

An AC capacitor can’t keep working forever. It will eventually stop working once it has completed its life.

What happens when the AC capacitor goes bad?

When the capacitor of your AC unit goes bad, the air conditioner starts struggling with the hard start problem.

When the AC is starting up, it needs 4-8 times more energy than it needs to keep running.

The job of a capacitor is to provide that extra energy boost to the AC when it is starting up.

When the capacitor will go bad, then the air conditioner does not get that extra energy boost which helps it to start smoothly.

Hence, your AC will have problems while starting up.

How often do AC capacitors go bad?

Usually, the capacitors of air conditioners do not go bad much frequently.

If the capacitor remains protected from all the threats, then it will have a very long life which is up to 20 years.

However, the life of the capacitor can be decreased by a lot of factors such as voltage fluctuation, lightning strike, power surge, overheating, wear and tear, and electrical overload, etc.

These threats can destroy the capacitor or decrease its life significantly.

How long do AC capacitors last?

You must be wondering that how long does an AC capacitor lasts?

Well, AC capacitors can last for 10 to 20 years if they remain protected from all kinds of threats.

However, many threats can destroy the capacitor of your AC way before its actual life such as electrical overload, voltage fluctuations, overheating, and wear and tear, etc.

If the capacitor of AC faces any of these threats, then it can get damaged and go bad earlier than its usual life.

Will AC run with a bad capacitor?

No, your AC might not run normally with a bad capacitor.

It will most likely develop hard start problems.

How to tell if the AC capacitor is bad?

If your AC capacitor has gone bad, how can you find that out?

Well, there are many symptoms which tell that the capacitor of your AC is bad:

Bad AC capacitor symptoms

Hard start problem

If your air conditioner is struggling while starting up then it means that the capacitor is not working fine.

This is called a hard start problem.

Chemical leak

If you have observed any chemical leak coming out of your air conditioner then it means that the capacitor is bad.

Smoke

If your air conditioner unit is giving out smoke that has an acidic smell then it is a huge sign that there is something wrong with the capacitor.

Shutting off

If your air conditioner unit randomly shuts off (especially after you switch it on) then it indicates a capacitor problem.

No cold air

If your AC unit is not blowing any cold air while working then it means that there is something wrong with the capacitor.

Humming sound

If your AC is giving out humming sounds then it indicates a capacitor problem.

Not turning on

If your air conditioner is not turning on then it means the capacitor of the AC is not working normally.

High energy bills

If your energy bills are increasing without any explanation then it also means there is a capacitor problem.

Do air conditioner capacitors have a shelf life?

Yes, air conditioner capacitors have a shelf life.

Experts say that ac capacitors might have a shelf life of 2 to 10 years.

You should keep them in a controlled and suitable environment if you want a longer life.

More resources:

Can ac cause cold in babies x
Can ac cause cold in babies

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