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ServiceMax Blog

Watch Out for Air Conditioner Capacitor Problems!

In our last post, we discussed some issues your air conditioning system might face at the close of the summer. It’s always a smart idea to see to any repairs your air conditioner may need right away, even as the weather begins to cool off. You may still need the AC to work for you in September, and the earlier you have any fixes done, the less expensive they are likely to be.

We’d like to address a special concern for air conditioners at the end of summer that we didn’t mention previously: failed capacitors.

Capacitors and your air conditioner

Capacitors are electrical components that temporarily store energy inside an electrical field. They serve numerous different purposes in electronic devices. Inside an air conditioner, capacitors serve two different functions. One set of capacitors, known as start capacitors, are responsible for sending voltage to the motors that run the fans and the compressor to start them operating. A second set of capacitors, the run capacitors, send voltage at regular intervals to keep the motors running without stopping. Should a capacitor fail in an air conditioning system, it could mean a shutdown of the fans or the compressor—both of which spell major trouble for the system and a loss of cooling power.

Why should you look out for potential capacitor problems at the end of summer? Because capacitors are sensitive to high heat levels; intense heat will shorten a capacitor’s lifespan. The heat from components inside an AC’s cabinet isn’t enough to negatively affect a capacitor, but high levels of heat outside can contribute to a premature failure for the component. Your air conditioner has experienced plenty of hot days this summer—and that means you should be on the watch for capacitors giving out.

Only a professional technician should replace a failed capacitor. When you hear clicking noises from the AC as it starts up, or the compressor or one of the fans gives out entirely, call up HVAC repair experts right away.

Malek Heating & Cooling offers 24-emergency service for air conditioning repair in Winnetka, IL and throughout Chicagoland.

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