What Is an AC Capacitor and Can It Be DIY Replaced?

August 10, 2022
AC repair in Seattle, WA

Most folks have a good understanding of what an air conditioning unit is and how to use it. In fact, most people couldn’t live without the creature comforts of temperature-controlled air. But when it comes to the inner workings of an AC unit, many people are left in the dark. If your air conditioner has stopped working and you are trying to troubleshoot the problem, you may have come across the term “capacitor.” But what is an AC capacitor, and can you replace it yourself?

Brennan Heating & Air Conditioning has been proudly servicing the Seattle area in all things heating and air since 1987, and we are dedicated to providing the best possible service to our customers. Our team of highly trained and certified technicians are experts in HVAC installation, maintenance, and repair and can help you with all your air conditioning needs, including replacing your AC capacitor. Keep reading to learn more about capacitors in air conditioners and what Brennan Heating & Air Conditioning can do for you.

Understanding the Importance of Your AC Capacitor

In order to understand what a capacitor is and does, it is important to know a little bit about how an air conditioner works. An air conditioner has three main parts: the compressor, the condenser, and the evaporator. The compressor and condenser are usually located in the outside AC unit, while the evaporator is on the unit inside your home.
Air conditioning repair

The compressor pumps a refrigerant through the air conditioner. The refrigerant goes into the coil in the condenser where it is cooled and turned into a liquid. The liquid refrigerant then goes into the coil in the evaporator where it is turned back into a gas. As the refrigerant evaporates, it absorbs heat from the air inside your home, cooling it down.

The capacitor is located in the compressor and helps start the AC unit by giving the compressor an extra boost of energy to get it going. The capacitor is an electrical component that stores energy and then releases it when the AC unit needs it.

All of these pieces need to work together in harmony. If one particular part is faulty or not calibrated just right, then it can mean that the air conditioning unit will not function properly. Or worse, it can be disastrous to the entire air conditioning system and cause a complete breakdown.

How to Determine If You Need a New AC Capacitor

If your air conditioner isn’t working, there are a few things you can do to try and troubleshoot the problem before calling an AC professional. One thing you can do is check the capacitor to see if it needs to be replaced. You can do this by visually inspecting the capacitor for any signs of damage, such as cracks, bulges, or leaks. You should also check the terminals to make sure that they are tight and free of corrosion.

If you are not sure whether or not the capacitor needs to be replaced, you can use a multimeter to test it. Just make sure the power to your AC unit is turned off, and then disconnect the wires from the terminals on the capacitor. Set your multimeter to “capacitance” mode and touch one of the probes to each of the terminals. If the reading is close to the capacitor’s rated capacitance, then it is probably fine. However, if the reading is significantly lower, then the capacitor will need to be replaced.

HVAC maintenance worker fixing an AC unit

Can You Replace an AC Capacitor Yourself?

Replacing a capacitor is a relatively simple task that most people can do themselves with a little bit of research. However, it is important to remember that capacitors store a lot of energy, so it is necessary to discharge the capacitor before working on it. If you are not comfortable doing this, then it is best to leave it to a professional who will have the tools and experience needed to complete the task safely and correctly.

Before you start disassembling your air conditioning unit, take a step back and assess the situation. While replacing an AC capacitor can be done by the average DIYer, you don’t want to create more trouble than it is worth. Get in touch with a heating and air service professional to be on the safe side.

Who to Contact to Replace an AC Capacitor

If you think that your capacitor needs to be replaced or if you are having any other problems with your air conditioner, the best thing to do is contact a professional. Brennan Heating & Air Conditioning has been a trusted name in heating and air for over three decades. Regardless of the issue you are experiencing, our team of highly trained and experienced technicians can quickly diagnose the problem and get your AC unit up and running again in no time.

Tips for Preventing Future Problems with Your AC Capacitor

While not all problems are preventable, there are a few things you can do to help prevent future issues with your air conditioner. For one, you want to make sure that the AC unit is properly installed and that all connections are tight and free of corrosion; corrosion can cause the capacitor to fail prematurely.

You also want to keep the area around your outdoor air conditioning unit clean and free of debris. This will help ensure proper airflow and prevent the unit from overworking itself. One of the most important preventative steps, however, is to schedule regular maintenance appointments with a qualified technician. This will help keep your AC unit in good working condition and identify potential problems before they become serious.

If you follow these tips, you can help extend the life of your air conditioner and avoid expensive repairs down the road. If you have any questions about your AC unit, don’t hesitate to contact Brennan Heating & Air Conditioning for more information about how to keep your system in good working condition.

What Brennan Heating & Air Conditioning Can Do for You

Air conditioning repair
Being comfortable in your own home is extremely important, and that is why it is critical to make sure that your air conditioning unit is serviced annually. If there are any issues with the AC unit that could cause problems, a licensed and professional technician will be able to identify them and provide recommendations for addressing any problem that could arise.

Brennan Heating & Air Conditioning is a family-owned and -operated business that is dedicated to providing the best possible service to our Seattle customers. We offer a wide range of services, including air conditioning repair, furnace installation, and cooling maintenance. We also offer a wide range of products, including air conditioners, furnaces, heat pumps, and thermostats. If you’re having any problems with your air conditioner, or if you just have a question, we’re always happy to help.

In addition to working on air conditioners and furnaces, our team is highly experienced in installing heat pumps and hot water heaters. Our full range of electrical services includes electrical inspections, breaker and fuse replacements, switch and plug installation, and circuit upgrades. You can also turn to us for air duct cleaning and free energy consultations.

Contact us today to schedule a service call!

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