What-Does-an-AC-Capacitor-Do

What Does an AC Capacitor Do?

Your Sarasota home’s air conditioning system relies on multiple parts to keep your home at a comfortable temperature, even on the hottest of summer days. One of these parts is the AC capacitor and it plays an important role inside your AC system. Read on and learn more about what the AC capacitor does and how it operates.

A Special Kind of Battery

You might have heard about capacitors in various electronics. These devices run the gamut in size and type, but their purpose is the same – to store short bursts of electrical energy that help power other devices. That’s not unlike the alkaline or lithium-ion batteries you use on a daily basis. Think of the capacitor as a special kind of battery that offers short-term energy storage in bursts, compared to the long-term power draw provided by an ordinary battery.

Why Your AC System Needs One

Your AC unit needs that short burst of energy to not only start the AC motors within, but also to keep them running. That’s where AC capacitors come into the picture. Your AC unit will have at least two capacitors – a “start” capacitor that helps the compressor, blower motor and outdoor unit fan turn on at startup and a “run” capacitor that regularly sends signals to keep those components running.

Some AC systems may have two separate AC capacitors while the latest units have what’s known as a “dual capacitor.” That’s simply two capacitors packaged into a single housing to save space. As a result, these capacitors are typically smaller than your standard single capacitors. Dual capacitors are often found in smaller AC systems, including mini-split units.

What to Do If Your AC Capacitor Fails

Nothing lasts forever and the same is true for AC capacitors. A failing AC capacitor can exhibit any of the following symptoms:

  • Lengthy starts or failure to start
  • AC unit randomly shuts off
  • No cold air when AC unit runs
  • Humming noise while operating
  • Smoke or acrid odors from AC unit
  • Higher-than-normal utility bills

Fortunately, an AC capacitor isn’t as tough or expensive to fix. The experts at Airrific can replace your capacitor as part of our AC repair service. After all, getting your AC system back to normal is our top priority.

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