What Does an Air Conditioner Capacitor Do? Getting a Deeper Understanding of the Component

If you have been wondering, ‘What does an air conditioner capacitor do?’ it’s time to get the correct answer. You probably have got to the point of realizing that an AC system is a complex one. It’s tricky and covers intricate small parts that need to work together to perform well.

A capacitor is one of those crucial parts to get your unit going. In fact, without it, don’t expect your device to run and perform well. So, what should you know about this part?

What Does an Air Conditioner Capacitor Do?

You know battery, and its function to power something. Well, a capacitor has almost the same function as batteries. The capacitor is responsible for providing the first electric power to the AC’s motor. It will store the electricity and then send it to the motors in a sudden burst of power when activated.

When the AC is already running, the capacity will reduce the output but still provide a steady electric current until the unit has finished its cycle.

what does an air conditioner capacitor do

The AC capacitor location depends on the AC system’s type. Some units may be placed close to the condenser unit (within the compressor), but some may be placed on the ground or even mounted on walls. It is two plates of metal separated by a somewhat dielectric material.

When the unit applies a voltage, the electric field is created, storing energy within electrostatic charge form. This energy can be sent or released whenever assistance is needed to power the unit.

Capacitor Types

To understand what an air conditioner capacitor does, you must also understand the types. Capacitors generally come in these two types: start and run capacitors. Known as the dual run capacitors, each has its own function.

The start capacitor is mostly needed when the AC unit first starts because the unit needs the biggest energy. The motor torque needs a bit of energy boost to run, which is what the start capacitor is all about.

After the motor runs, it’s time for the run capacitor to do its job. Its main responsibility is to keep the AC system running smoothly. It ensures that the electric current is consistent and proper when running through the system so the AC doesn’t stop in the middle of its operation.

When the capacitors are at faulty, there are some obvious signs. If it’s the start capacitor, you may hear it humming without starting up. If it’s the run capacitor, the system may start but cycle off before the proper time.

What Happens When Capacitor Goes Out on AC?

Some signs suggest that your capacitor needs replacing:

  • Warm air. If the AC runs but blows out warm air instead of cold air, your capacitor is probably bad. Because the compressor can’t start, the AC can’t remove heat by transferring it outside.
  • Humming noise. When the capacitor is at faulty, the compressor must work harder than the average ability. No wonder if it produces humming noise, which comes from the condenser unit’s access panel.
  • Burning smell. If you smell any burning scent, it’s most likely that your capacitor is bad. The compressor won’t run properly, so the unit won’t be able to cool off the house effectively.
  • The AC suddenly turns off. Be aware that your unit turns off suddenly. Because the capacitor is bad, the AC suddenly shuts down.

Read also: How Much Does Replace an Air Conditioner Capacitor Cost?

Final Words

Some people say that the life expectancy of the capacitor is around 10 years, while others say that it may go up to 20 years. However, if you can’t maintain your unit carefully, your capacitor won’t be able to last for such a long time. If you have to wonder what does an air conditioner capacitor do, now you know the answer.

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AirconMag is an experienced author and Air Conditioner expert. With years of practical experience in the field authored several informative articles on various aspects of AC unit, including installation, maintenance, and repair