AC Component Guide: Capacitors

While you may use your air conditioning system in Phoenix, AZ throughout much of the year, you likely are not familiar with many of the different components that actually allow that air conditioner to cool your home. That’s fine, of course. You aren’t a professional air conditioning technician, and this isn’t the type of material that most homeowners would choose to study for fun. Even so, we do think that it is beneficial to have a basic understanding of some of the important components of your home cooling system. The capacitors in that system, for instance, make it possible for your AC to operate reliably and successfully.

What Are Capacitors, and What Are They Doing in My AC?

Motor capacitors, including start and run capacitors, as well as dual run capacitors, are electrical components that store energy and put that energy to use when needed. Start capacitors, as you may have guessed, are used when your air conditioning system first starts up. Your air conditioner is going to require the most energy when doing so, which means that it may need a little help to get going successfully. The start capacitor boosts the starting torque in the motor briefly to get it over the hump, so to speak.

Just as a start capacitor helps your air conditioner to start up, the run capacitor helps it to keep running in a reliable manner. They ensure that proper, consistent levels of current are moving through the system, so that your air conditioner does not come grinding to a start. As you can imagine, a failing capacitor of any sort can spell serious trouble for your air conditioner.

If your start capacitor is bad, you may hear your system humming away, without actually starting up. Perhaps it will begin to start up, but fail before it has really gotten going. If your run capacitor is bad, you may hear your system start up, and it may even begin to blow some cool air, but it will cycle off before it should. This short cycling wastes energy and puts a lot of strain on an air conditioning system.

If you suspect the need for any AC repairs, remember that Goettl Air Conditioning is the company to call.