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What Are Capacitors?

blown-awayWe do not expect homeowners to be air conditioning experts. If you all were, after all, our business would be in serious trouble! That being said, we do think that it is in your best interest to have some idea of how your air conditioning system works. You may not be able to accurately diagnose problems that develop with your system, and you definitely should not try to resolve them on your own. You can,  however, recognize that there are a lot of vital components in your system, and any issues should raise red flags.

Today we’ll be talking about just such vital components—the capacitors in your AC! Now, different systems may not have the same capacitors, some may serve double functions, etc. etc. For simplicity’s sake, we’ll focus on two specific types of capacitors today.  These are the run capacitor and the start capacitor. If you should encounter any problems with your air conditioning capacitors, then you’ll definitely need to schedule prompt HVAC services in Calhoun.

What Is a Start Capacitor?

The start capacitor in your air conditioner is an electrical device that serves to give your air conditioner a little extra “oomph” when it is first starting up to begin its cooling cycle. Your air conditioner requires more energy to get itself started than it does to keep itself running once it is already going. That is why this capacitor is there. It gets the AC off to the races, and its job is finished.

What types of problems might you encounter with a faulty start capacitor? As you may have guessed, your air conditioner is going to struggle to start. If your system is making sounds like it wants to start, but it is unable to do so, or if it is barely getting going then cycling back down, there is a pretty good chance that a faulty start capacitor is to blame.

What Is a Run Capacitor?

The other common capacitor type that air conditioners use is the run capacitor. A run capacitor is used, as you would rightly assume, to keep an air conditioner running once it has already gotten going. Why is this necessary? Well, your AC has access to a sufficient electrical current to run, but there can be some fluctuation in the power that it is actually receiving. A run capacitor simply helps to ensure that your AC is getting the right amount of power throughout its run cycle in order to keep running reliably. That way, your comfort is not interrupted.

If that capacitor should fail, your system will probably start to short cycle. This is an issue in which the system starts up, but runs only very briefly before cycling back down. Then it will start up again, only to quickly cycle back down. This wastes a lot of energy, and it also puts a lot of unnecessary wear and tear on the air conditioning system in question.

Schedule your air conditioning services with Moody Heating and Air Conditioning.

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