Within every air conditioning unit, there is a capacitor. The capacitor stores and releases energy. Air conditioner units use a large capacitor as these units require more energy storage and higher levels of power demands. Essentially the air conditioner’s capacitors power up the air conditioner’s compressor motor. However, an air conditioner unit can have multiple capacitors which power various components of the unit. Absolute P&M Services will share why capacitors fail so often and what to do when a capacitors fails.
Air Conditioner Motors & Capacitors
An air conditioner unit has three separate motors. One motor, which is the largest, is the blower motor (or the compressor), the second motor is the condenser fan motor, and the third is the refrigerant pump motor. Each motor has its own capacitors which are activated by the thermostat. The compressor or blower motor is the largest and requires the largest amount of power out of the three motors. This means it has the biggest capacitor. However, the capacitors are very sensitive to overheating. To prevent overheating and damage, the capacitors contain a moisture separator. However, the moisture can dry out if the air conditioner unit becomes too hot. As a result, the electrical line will short circuit. If the capacitors go over 150 degrees Fahrenheit, the unit will short circuit.
AC Capacitors Electrical Overloads
Another common problem that causes capacitors to fail are electrical overloads. The capacitors used for the compressor and the fan motors power the motor, so they use about 2/3 of their designed running speed. Once the motors begin to exceed the designated speed, the capacitors will disengage to prevent overheating or damage to the motors. If the motor fails to disengage, this can cause an electrical overload to occur. An electrical overload can easily damage the capacitors. Any voltage above the capacitors capacity or limit will typically destroy them. This can include a power surge during an electrical storm.
AC Capacitors Can Go Bad Due to Overheating
Capacitors are very sensitive components that get damaged very easily due to overheating. However, the result of overheating can be due to an older unit as well. As an air conditioner unit ages, the components will begin to wear or break down. Sometimes the fan motor may not shut down as smoothly as it is supposed to, which causes a delay. This delay is often enough to overheat the capacitors, and of course, damage them. When a capacitor is damaged, often they will leak oil.
Emergency Central Air Conditioner Repair, Tune Up Maintenance & More in Santa Fe, Tomball, Sugar Land, Galveston & Greater Houston, Texas
When the air conditioner unit is well maintained, on average the capacitors can last for 50,000 startup cycles which come to about six years. Capacitor replacement is a rather common problem and one that will be encountered one to three times during the life of the unit. Some common signs that a capacitor needs to be replaced are failure for the unit to start up or a delayed start up cycle. If the capacitors to the fan motor went out the air conditioner unit will run but not blow cool air. If the refrigerant pump motor capacitors went out the unit will blow warm air. If your air conditioner unit capacitors have failed, and you need help repairing your air conditioning system, contact Absolute P&M Services for all of your HVAC and plumbing services.