Where is the Air Conditioner Capacitor? (Answered)

Air conditioner capacitors are among the most essential parts of any HVAC system. Operating similarly to batteries, capacitors store energy that gives compressor and fan motor a big push when starting up, but eventually wear out and need to be replaced; when this occurs, symptoms such as inconvenient start up times and other systemic issues arise – often leaving homeowners frustrated and feeling like something’s amiss with their system. Here are some signs that your capacitor needs replacing:

Where is the Air Conditioner Capacitor Located?

The air conditioner capacitor is typically located inside the outdoor unit of your AC system, known as the condenser. You can usually find it next to the compressor, beneath a metal or plastic cover. Always ensure power is off before accessing it for safety.

Why is Warm Air Coming Out of Vents?

Starting up an AC unit requires an immense amount of electricity; its capacitor delivers this surge to start up compressor and fan motor components before continuing to provide electricity throughout cooling cycles. Due to being constantly active, however, its durability will deteriorate much sooner than other parts in your air conditioning unit.

What are the Symptoms of a Failing Capacitor?

Notably, an air conditioner with a bad capacitor will have to work harder in order to cool your home efficiently, leading to higher energy costs than usual and potentially leaving no cooling at all. If that capacitor should fail completely and leave you without cooling at all.

As your capacitor begins to wear down, you may hear a humming sound coming from its access panel of your air conditioning unit. That is caused by it trying to charge itself but being unable to fully complete due to internal flaws; eventually the humming will cease but your air conditioner still won’t operate normally.

How to Identify a Damaged Capacitor?

Your capacitor should also be identifiable if, upon opening up the access panel of your air conditioning unit and viewing an oily-looking liquid within it, which indicates an issue with it. In such an instance, it would be wise to replace it quickly with another.

How Can I Test My AC Capacitor?

Multimeters can help you test the electrical ratings of AC capacitors. It is a small handheld device used for measuring voltage, current, and resistance in electric devices; you can buy one at most home improvement stores. Make sure that it features an LCD display showing microfarad (mF) ratings as this metric measures how well they store an electric charge.

What Precautions Should I Take Before Working on My Air Conditioner?

Before beginning any task on your air conditioner, however, it’s a good idea to switch the power off, discharge the capacitor, disconnect its wires from it and take pictures of its connectors – usually labeled HERM, FAN and C. Once disconnected from its wiring connections, place them somewhere safe so as not to interfere when installing your new capacitor and make sure its voltage rating matches up with that of the air conditioning unit.