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AW Heating & Cooling Blog

Can You Run an Air Conditioner with a Bad Capacitor?


When people start turning on their air conditioners for the first time, we get plenty of calls from customers telling us that their air conditioner is not working. Most of the calls we get are for a common repair: a failed capacitor, though customers aren’t often aware that this is the problem. So then the question becomes, can you use your air conditioner despite a bad capacitor?

The simple answer is “No.”

There are two types of capacitors–the start capacitor that signals the AC motors to start up, and the run capacitor that keeps those motors running through each cooling cycle.

If your HVAC system is giving you trouble, it is definitely time for you to call in our professionals for air conditioning repair in Toledo, OH. We’ll determine if a capacitor is to blame, and make the necessary repairs. In the meantime, read on to learn more about this component and its importance to the functionality of your air conditioner!

What Is a Capacitor?

A capacitor is an electric component with an important function in the HVAC system and many other electrical appliances at home. The device serves as a storage bucket for electrons, and it contains at least two conductors separated by an insulator. When power runs through the capacitor, it stores power in the form of an electrostatic field between the two conductors.

When your AC is turned on, the start capacitor’s job is to use the stored electrons to provide a high-voltage jolt to the compressor, blower motor, and fan motor to ensure that these components in your AC start working properly.

The start capacitor stores energy while your AC is running and provides a new jolt of energy each time you turn it on, while the run capacitor keeps it running.

Is your AC refusing to start, or refusing to stop? There is a high chance that the capacitor might be going bad.

Why You Should Never Replace The Capacitor Yourself

Learning about your AC’s capacitor problems is good because it can help you understand the source of the problem. However, that does not mean you should ever attempt to change the capacitor by yourself.

Capacitors in HVAC systems carry a lot more voltage than the power used to run your AC. These components can carry a significant amount of charge that can deliver a shock even when the power is turned off. Failing to handle the problem properly can cause serious and even fatal injuries. It is always best to leave such tasks to experienced and well-trained professionals who have the tools and knowledge to deal with them properly.

Is Your AC’s Capacitor Going Bad?

Is your AC refusing to work properly, making strange noises, or simply not starting? A failed capacitor could be the reason for this problem. If you suspect that your AC’s capacitor is going bad, we highly recommend turning off the unit and calling in a professional to come in and fix the problem.

If you have any additional questions about AC repairs, contact “your comfort specialists” here at AW Heating & Cooling today!

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