Do you know about all the different parts of your HVAC systems? You're probably familiar with the condenser unit. It's that large block that sits outside of homes and businesses in Burlington, Oakville, and Milton. Did you know that there are several smaller, separate components inside that unit? Your fan, compressor, and capacitor all sit inside. The smallest of all those essential components is your capacitor.
It might be small, but it has an important job. The capacitors inside of AC systems are absolutely essential, and you'll start noticing performance issues with your unit if anything goes wrong with them. Unfortunately, that tiny part is also easily damaged. Even the wear that comes from normal use will eventually break them down.
Malfunctions are often spotted during regular maintenance appointments because capacitors are something that all HVAC service professionals take the time to check. Those failing parts cause many problems, which is why replacing bad capacitors is one of the common air conditioner repairs that HVAC companies like Aire Serv of Halton handle for homeowners and business owners. You don't need to be an expert to understand what capacitors do or what their warning signs are. In fact, that information might help you figure out why your broken air conditioner isn't working.
What is a Capacitor?
Capacitors are found inside of outdoor air conditioner units. They're smaller parts that connect to three important wire systems inside of condensers. Many people equate them to batteries, but changing them is not as simple as pulling them out and plugging them in.
They get compared to batteries because their job is supplying power to your motor during startup and giving it continuous power during operation. Some types of air conditioner models split those jobs between multiple capacitors, but you only need one to do everything.
What Are the Signs of a Bad Capacitor?
Any issues with that essential power part might precipitate several potential problems. Their job is essential for quality air conditioner service. Faults might cause minor issues that only decrease efficiency, but they can also completely cancel any cooling you get from your AC system. If you notice any of those irritating cooling issues, you might need HVAC replacement service.
Warning signs include:
Units that don't blow cold air
Rising energy costs
Slow start-up sequences
Units that turn off on their own
Units that don't turn on
Compressors running while the fan is stopped
Signs of frost in your condenser unit
Which Part is Really Causing the Problem?
Your cooling issue might have an alternative cause. Many common issues are caused by dirty air filters and other damage. Routine air conditioner maintenance is the best way to avoid those common issues caused by all the parts that naturally fail over time. If you haven't had recent maintenance, it's best to start with your filter if you're just trying to diagnose a random issue in an unexpectedly broken air conditioner.
Other common causes of AC issues are:
Bent coil fins
Bad duct connections
Clogged condensate drains
If your inspection doesn't reveal a filter issue, it's possible that your capacitor might be the culprit behind your faulty AC. If you can look inside your condenser and inspect it, you might see specific issues that confirm it's malfunctioning.
If you're ever unsure, a thorough inspection from your local HVAC service professionals will leave no doubt about what's going on and what kind of AC repairs you might need.
Watch for these specific signs:
Swelling: Swelling at the sides is common when they're far beyond their typical lifespan.
Leaks: Faulty capacitors sometimes leak fluid, which is also common as they get older.
Can You Change it Yourself?
We think the right question to ask isn't whether you can; it's whether you should. Some air conditioner repairs are straightforward and simple. These replacements are not one of those air conditioner repairs. Anything involving electricity is dangerous, but capacitors have a special bite that they reserve for unprepared repair attempts. These repairs are just one of many ways that your local HVAC specialists can help people.
AC capacitors need to be discharged when you replace them. They still hold a charge even after power to your AC unit is turned off. That means they could zap anybody who doesn't know what they're doing. They're a minor obstacle for HVAC service professionals with training and experience, but they might cause major pain to anybody that tries improper, unsafe repairs.
How Long Do Replacements Last?
Capacitors in all air conditioner models can last up to 10 years or longer in Oakville, Burlington, and the surrounding areas of Halton, but it's more likely that you're going to have to replace it at least once before then. There's a wide range of factors that shorten service periods, so your part's specific lifespan will vary. Any regular maintenance from HVAC service professionals should include a simple inspection to ensure that your current parts are all functioning.
What Causes Sudden Failure?
The significant factors that affect all outdoor air conditioners come from seasonal high-use periods during hot summer months. Increased wear during heat waves is a common reason for getting AC repairs.
In addition to that everyday wear from high temperatures, there are several other situations that cause damage. It's a good idea to get a quality air conditioner inspection from your local service professionals if any of the other issues occur.
Common causes of damage are:
Short circuits in your AC system
Do You Need Capacitor Replacement in Halton, ON?
All AC issues should be repaired as soon as possible. Anything that's left for later will increase air conditioning costs for both repairs and daily operation. Annual AC maintenance is the best way to protect yourself against broken capacitors, faulty thermostats, damaged coils, and other issues that decrease efficiency while raising energy costs.
Emergencies can happen. Getting timely air conditioner repairs from certified HVAC professionals is essential for avoiding higher costs from expensive air conditioner repairs in the future. For more information or immediate assistance, call Aire Serv of Halton at 647-557-4823.