What a Bad Capacitor Means For Your AC Unit


In Georgia, it is usually pretty easy to tell when something is not right with your AC unit. Especially during the summer months, an issue with your air conditioning system is clear and is often an urgent fix. Issues like a clogged drain line or leak can be indicated. However, other issues may be harder to find to the untrained eye. If your air conditioner is malfunctioning or exhibiting electrical issues, it may be a result of a bad capacitor.

What is a Capacitor?

The capacitor is an essential part of your air conditioning system. The capacitor is attached to the motor and responsible for stabilizing voltage and giving the energy to jumpstart the motors. After starting the motor for the cooling system, it continues giving it steady energy until the cycle is complete. If you catch capacitor issues early on, it can be an easy repair.

What Causes a Capacitor to Go Bad?

The capacitor is responsible for keeping your air conditioner running properly. In most air conditioning units that experience no extreme temperature fluctuations or defective parts, a capacitor should be able to run for the entire life of your unit. However, life happens. Multiple things can cause a capacitor to go bad, like:

  • Power surges
  • Lighting strikes
  • Short-circuiting in the cooling system
  • Extreme outdoor temperatures
  • Defective parts
  • Overheated system
  • Over cycling

How Do I Know If My Capacitor Has Gone Bad?

A capacitor that has gone bad will cause your air conditioning system to function inconsistently and have issues cooling the house. Additionally, if your machine isn’t getting the proper voltage to it, it forces the exterior unit to work harder. This causes your air conditioning system to use significantly more energy to do the same job it normally would. This lack of efficiency will raise your energy bills. A bad capacitor can cause numerous symptoms. It is also very common that other components of your air conditioner will sustain damage is the capacitor is faulty. Regularly scheduled maintenance can help catch these issues before they become severe. However, more symptoms to keep an eye out for include:

  • A humming noise from your air conditioner
  • The smell of something burning or smoke from your exterior unit
  • The air conditioner isn’t cooling or shuts off randomly
  • The air conditioner doesn’t turn on or is delayed to start
  • Unusually high energy bills

If your system is exhibiting any of the following symptoms, it is important to have it serviced to avoid further damage.

Trust Heating and Air Can Help

When one of our expert technicians is called to your home, they have tools that can test the performance of your capacitor. They can ensure that it is working properly and that your system is in good condition. In addition to this, they can inspect for signs of a malfunctioning capacitor like bulging, cracks, liquid in the circuit board, and low voltage. The technician knows when the system needs to be diagnosed further and repaired. This can help your machine to run properly and as efficiently as possible.

For more information call 678-498-6276 or contact us today.