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How to Tell If Your AC Capacitor Is Bad

The Air Conditioner’s capacitor is one of the most hardworking mechanisms within the whole AC system. However, when the AC starts to fail, it is one of the first items an AC technician will check to get to the root of an AC problem.

Unlike other issues in an AC, a worn-out or failing capacitor is not something for a DIY enthusiast to repair. It is a condition he may not even get to discover right away. Even so, this issue is best left for professionals like us at Reliable Standard Heating and Air to properly diagnose and repair, for sure and long-term resolution of the issue.

What does an Air conditioner Capacitor do?

In essence, the AC capacitor powers the air conditioner’s motor that paves the way for the cooling of the whole house. It provides the initial power that jumpstarts the whole system and ensures it remains supplied with power throughout its operational use.

And while the capacitor is unlikely to fail easily, if it does fail it will surely render the whole AC system useless. Below are some of the signs that the AC capacitor is failing, and what homeowners should do to deal with it.

Signs of a bad AC Condenser capacitor

A worn-out AC capacitor has similar symptoms as other issues air conditioners may have. For instance, if the AC is not blowing cold air, it could be due to leaking refrigerant, dirty AC filters, or a worn-out capacitor. Or if your air conditioning system isn’t properly cooling the house there are a few things you should take a look at. The first thing the homeowner should do is to rule out the other possible reasons first before calling in for professional AC help.

Examining the AC filters is an easy task that any homeowner can do, and replacing them if needed. If that does not solve the problem, then it is time to call in a certified AC technician. Please also make sure you clean your ac condenser coils, it is very easy and can be done with a hose.

Below are the signs of a worn-out Air conditioning capacitor:

  • The AC is not blowing cold air
  • The AC produces a humming sound
  • The air conditioner seems slow to start
  • The AC does not turn on
  • The Air Conditioner turns off on its own
  • Air Conditioner is not cooling the house

How to check a Capacitor

There are two likely scenarios that a homeowner will discover upon testing an AC capacitor. He can check if it is faulty, or if it is broken.

Check the outdoor unit and inspect whether the fan is working. If it is, then most likely the capacitor is not the problem. If it is not working, then the homeowner should get a thin object that he could slide through the outer unit to nudge one of the fan blades to work. If the fan starts circling again and keeps on working then the issue is a faulty capacitor. Alternatively, a bad capacitor could have the same symptoms as a bad ac contactor, you may need to do fix your ac contactor.

If however, the AC unit is producing a humming sound yet it is not operational or running, then it is highly likely that the capacitor is worn out or broken.

Replacing an Capacitor

Homeowners can buy a replacement AC capacitor in any home improvement store or an online supplies site. Below are the steps in replacing the capacitor:

  1. Turn off AC power from the breaker panel.
  2. Remove the access panel to get to the AC capacitor.
  3. Discharge the power of the capacitor.
  4. Take a photo of the set-up, and dismount the existing capacitor. Take note of how the wires are connected as this is also the way the new one will be installed.
  5. Take another photo this time concentrating on the color of the wires and which color connects to where. After that carefully disconnect the wires from the capacitor connectors labeled as C, fan, and HERM.
  6. Install the new capacitor in accordance with the instructions.
  7. Put back the condenser cover.
  8. Turn on power from the breaker panel.
  9. Try out the system.

How to choose the right capacitor

When it comes to replacement capacitors, the size is not as important as the voltage and microfarads. The microfarad of the existing capacitor must match the replacement capacitor. So when buying either online or from a physical store, make sure to note the AC brand and model, plus the microfarad of the existing capacitor, and its corresponding voltage.

How much does it cost to replace an AC Capacitor

This will depend on the unit and if there is anything other parts that have also been affected by the bad capacitor aswell.

Reliable Standard Heating and Air AC Repair Services in San Diego

When in need of an AC capacitor replacement for your San Diego home, get in touch with us at Reliable Standard Heating, Air, & Solar. We have helped countless homes and businesses in replacing their AC capacitors and keeping their Air Conditioners running in their best condition. Get in touch with us today through our hotline, or through our efficient online scheduling system. Reach out to us today!

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