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What is a Capacitor? Why Do They Break on Air Conditioners?

Modern air conditioning units come equipped with the latest technology with only a few internal parts, making them quite dependable. You might expect your system to last for years with no maintenance, but if your air conditioner unexpectedly fails to start one day regardless of your best efforts, the capacitor is most likely at fault. 

Air conditioner capacitors, despite their size, play a crucial part in the daily operation of your air conditioning unit. This is why it is essential to keep capacitors in excellent working condition by constantly calling specialists for servicing or maintaining HVAC capacitor parts near me.

What is a capacitor?

A capacitor is an ingenious device made up of two metal wires separated by an insulating substance. In addition, this component in an air conditioner resembles a cylindrical cell with two or three shafts protruding from the top. 

Capacitors’ principal function is to store particles to supply start-up energy for your air conditioner; they charge up as electricity flows through them by switching electrons between the two conducting plates within. 

Air conditioners do a slightly superior trick every time they turn on due to their capacitors. Because your A/C unit requires significantly more start-up power than is available through your home’s cabling, the capacitor is connected to the circuit to provide an electrical kickstart at the same time that your air conditioner is drawing electricity from the electricity network.

Why do capacitors break down?

Mentioned hereunder are some reasons why capacitors in an air conditioning system break down. 

Exposure to heat

The temperature is one of the most destructive factors to air conditioner capacitors throughout the summer. Unfortunately, exposing these devices to high heat for lengthy periods significantly reduces their lifespan and can cause substantial damage to your unit. 

Also, ensure that your air conditioner remains shaded and clean with the air flowing through it to prolong the life of your capacitor.

Voltage range

All capacitors have a voltage level, which tells air conditioner operators which capacitor is compatible with which air conditioner. Unfortunately, homeowners may attempt to save money by replacing their capacitors themselves if they do not understand how to select the proper capacitor. 

In addition, an insufficiently working capacitor will not only harm your air conditioner but will dramatically reduce the capacitor’s life.


Capacitors, like all else, have a finite lifespan. Most capacitors can last about 20 years, but numerous conditions can lead them to wear out sooner. 

If your air conditioner runs much faster than usual, your capacitor is either inadequate or made of troublesome materials, and the anticipated life expectancy may get considerably reduced. Fortunately, these parts are relatively inexpensive to repair, so even if your capacitor fails before your air conditioning unit, it would never be a burden on your pockets. 

Also, if you are looking for professionals to purchase central air conditioner parts near me, HVAC Warehouse can be your perfect partner. At the HVAC Warehouse, you can shop from a wide range of HVAC products at the most affordable price range. To book your order, call us at (762) 435-4822 or email us at [email protected]

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