in , , ,

Fixing A Broken AC Capacitor: Why It Happens And How To Solve It

Fixing A Broken AC Capacitor: Why It Happens And How To Solve It

Air conditioning (AC) units rely on various components to function properly, and one critical element is the AC capacitor. If you’ve recently replaced your AC capacitor with a new one, yet your AC unit still isn’t operating, you might be wondering what’s gone wrong. This article aims to shed light on the potential reasons behind this issue and provide guidance on how to address them effectively. From incorrect voltage ratings to overheating concerns, we’ll cover it all.

Addressing A New AC Capacitor That Refuses To Work

Fixing A Broken AC Capacitor: Why It Happens And How To Solve It

Facing a non-operational AC unit despite installing a new capacitor can be frustrating. However, understanding the root causes and employing the appropriate solutions can prevent further complications.

Incorrect Voltage Rating

The voltage rating of an AC capacitor indicates its capacity to handle electricity without incurring damage. The selection of an AC capacitor with an improper voltage rating is a common error made by technicians during replacements. Even if the new capacitor seems functional, an incorrect voltage rating can lead to malfunctions and potential hazards.

For a proper resolution:

  • Carefully compare the voltage ratings of the old and new capacitors after safely disconnecting and discharging the old one.
  • The microfarad (uF) value must match, while the voltage rating should be at least 1.5 times or twice the highest voltage the unit can handle.
  • Verify the capacitor’s voltage rating using a multimeter and ensure proper connection alignment before reinstallation.

Damaged Components

Fixing A Broken AC Capacitor: Why It Happens And How To Solve It

Even with a correctly matched capacitor, other faulty components within the AC unit can impede its operation. A malfunctioning fan motor or compressor bearing can contribute to the failure of a newly installed capacitor.

To tackle this issue:

  • Inspect the entire AC unit for potential damage, focusing on the fan motor and compressor.
  • Unusual noises when the fan turns on may indicate a problem. Check for debris obstructing airflow as well.
  • Evaluate the compressor’s energy supply and verify the voltage levels.

Overheating Concerns

Excessive heat can impact the functionality of an AC capacitor, even if it’s newly installed. Overheating can result from factors such as prolonged usage, external conditions, and relay switch malfunctions. Elevated temperatures can lead to internal short circuits, reducing the capacitor’s lifespan and efficiency.

To combat overheating:

  • Shield the AC unit from direct sunlight to prevent excessive heating.
  • Clean the condensate coil regularly to ensure optimal airflow.
  • Consider upgrading an old AC unit’s relay switch.

Power Surge And Electrical Overload

While rare, power surges caused by lightning strikes or grid oscillations can potentially damage the AC capacitor. A surge can disrupt the capacitor’s charging process and result in its failure.

To mitigate surge-related issues:

  • Invest in surge protection to safeguard AC components from rapid power fluctuations.

Understanding AC Capacitor Wiring

AC capacitors are typically equipped with red, yellow, and white wires. These wires serve specific functions, such as power supply, fan motor speed control, and neutral connections. However, the wire colors might vary based on the manufacturer and application.

Number Of Capacitors In An AC Unit

AC units can feature multiple capacitors, with the quantity depending on the brand and model. Outdoor units might have either a dual capacitor or two single capacitors, each designed for specific purposes.

Interchangeability Of AC Capacitors

Run capacitors and start capacitors are not interchangeable due to their distinct designs and functions. Attempting to use the wrong type of capacitor can lead to system malfunctions and component failures.

Average Lifespan Of AC Capacitors

Fixing A Broken AC Capacitor: Why It Happens And How To Solve It

On average, an AC capacitor has a lifespan of about 10 years. However, this duration can vary based on factors like usage frequency and capacitor type. Opting for a suitable capacitor for your unit is crucial for longevity.


When troubleshooting AC capacitor issues, it’s essential to understand the causes and solutions. However, if you’re unable to resolve the problem or lack expertise in dealing with electrical components, consulting a licensed HVAC professional is recommended. They possess the knowledge and experience to diagnose and rectify complex AC system problems, ensuring your unit operates optimally.

In summary, a malfunctioning AC capacitor after replacement can stem from various causes, including voltage rating mismatches, damaged components, overheating, and power surges. By comprehending these issues and implementing appropriate solutions, you can extend the life and efficiency of your AC unit. If uncertainties persist, don’t hesitate to enlist the expertise of a qualified HVAC technician.

Fixing A Broken AC Capacitor: Why It Happens And How To Solve It

What do you think?

Written by HVAC Contributor

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

GIPHY App Key not set. Please check settings

Easy Steps For Setting Up And Using Your Toshiba Portable Air Conditioner

Solar Cool: The Future Of Air Conditioning Is Here

Solar Cool: The Future Of Air Conditioning Is Here