The heat and humidity of summer are at their peak, and along with them comes summer’s most common AC repair: a broken capacitor. Capacitors are electronic devices used in a wide variety of applications, including air conditioning systems. Just like any other mechanical or electrical device, they are prone to breakdown, especially when they are under a heavy workload.

What AC Capacitors Do

The capacitor in a central air conditioning system is designed to give a boost of power at the start of each system cycle. This is needed to bring the air conditioner’s fan up to full speed. Once the fan motor has reached its maximum running speed, the capacitor ceases its work until the next start up of the system.

Signs of Capacitor Failure

There are not always signs of capacitor failure before the breakdown occurs. However, you might notice some of these symptoms that indicate a capacitor problem:

  • Smoke. The capacitor might smoke as it begins to fail. The smoke may have an acrid smell due to the chemicals within the capacitor.
  • Leaks. The chemicals inside of the capacitor might leak out as the unit fails.
  • Startup failures. The capacitor may intermittently fail at its job as it is going bad, leading to occasions when the air conditioner is unable to do its job.

Reasons for AC Capacitor Problems

There are many reasons why an air conditioner’s capacitor fails. While only a certified heating and cooling specialist can determine the exact cause of capacitor breakdown in your particular air conditioning unit, some of the most common reasons that this part sop working include:

  • Physical damage to the capacitor, such as from debris hitting the unit.
  • Improper voltage or current traveling through the capacitor.
  • Overheating of the unit.
  • Age related wear and tear.

What To Do When the Capacitor Breaks Down

When the air conditioner’s capacitor breaks down, an AC capacitor repair is needed. An experienced AC service technician can tell whether the capacitor can be repaired or whether it will need to be replaced. Our air conditioning repair experts include new capacitors in the service vehicles that they drive on all service runs, so if your capacitor needs replacement you will not have to wait for this service.

This summer, you can prevent AC capacitor breakdowns in your Fairfax, VA, home by scheduling a system tune-up. If you do notice any signs of a capacitor failure, our team at Commonwealth Cooling & Heating is ready to assist you in repairing or replacing the broken down part. For more information, give our friendly service technicians a call any time.