One of the things that a capacitor does is allows for electric motors to start and run using a jolt of electricity. This job of electricity gives the motor an opportunity to start with just a few extra volts. It also helps the compressor start which is the biggest drained of juice for your air conditioning system. The compressor in most cases draws approximately 16 224 amps on startup . On startup it needs only about 65 to 70 percent of those parts to continue to run.
Capacitors are one of the most common problems in air conditioner repairs
The capacitors main job is too increase the voltage as the amperage draws are increased by the demand of the motor or compressor to start the movement and spending. These little devices are built to take the punishment that is dished out by the high heat such as found in Summerlin and Northwest Las Vegas. However they do not last more than 3 to 10 years. This may seem short in comparison to other air conditioning components but in reality this is actually pretty good.
A blown capacitor can be the first sign that the other component is drawing to many amps
Quite often this is the first place most air conditioning technicians will start to look and test if your conditioner is not running at all. The downside to this simple diagnosis is that the true problem may be in yet another place. Let me explain. Capacitors so they don’t last very long they do tell a story about how the other components are performing. For instance if the compressor is dying it will draw higher amperage then it should. this will force the capacitor to work overtime to keep up with the voltage demands that come alongside the high amperage demands. So if the capacitor seems to go out the cause could be something other than the capacitor wearing out for normal conditions. This in no way means that you need a new compressor. It may mean that you need a capacitor backup or something that we like to call a hard start.
A hard start is another form of a capacitor that is connected in series to the other motors in line piggyback style to promote extra voltage and take the stress off of the singular capacitor. This is typically required on units that are pretty old. We find them quite often on compressors that are over the age of 15 years. That does not mean that some younger compressors are exempt.
The typical capacitor cost runs between $108 and $210 depending on who the maker and size of your air conditioning system. Most air conditioners have 3 capacitors. One for the internal blower motor. 1 for the capacitor compressor. And in some cases a separate one for the condenser fan motor. Most of the time the compressor and condenser fan motor share a dual stage capacitor. If your air conditioner is older it may also have a fourth capacitor used as a hard start wired in piggy back in line.