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The Function and Importance of Your AC Capacitors

When it comes to using an air conditioning system, the average homeowner doesn’t think much about how it works. Until, that is, something goes wrong. We don’t expect you to be a pro at air conditioning mechanics. After all, that’s what we are here for; this isn’t the type of job that most homeowners would choose to tackle on their own for fun!

Despite that, it can be advantageous to have at least a basic knowledge of some of the important components of your home cooling system, so that when something does go wrong you can better understand it. One of these components is the capacitor, which makes it possible for your air conditioner to operate reliably and effectively.

What Is a Capacitor?

Motor capacitors—start and run capacitors as well as dual run capacitors—are electrical devices that store energy and put that energy to use when it is needed. When your air conditioning system first starts up, the start capacitor is used to boost the starting torque in the motor briefly to give it a good jump start.

Once the start capacitor gets your system going, it’s up to the run capacitor to keep it running reliably. Run capacitors ensure that proper, consistent levels of current are moving through your AC system, so that your unit doesn’t come grinding to a halt. It probably comes as no surprise, given this description, that a failing capacitor can be a huge sign of trouble for your air conditioning system.

How Do You Troubleshoot a Bad Capacitor?

If your start capacitor has gone bad, then you might hear your system humming, but without actually starting up. Or maybe it will start to run properly, but fail before it really gets going. If the run capacitor is bad, you’ll probably hear your system start up and may even feel it begin to blow cold air, but it will cycle off before it is supposed to: a process called short-cycling that puts too much strain on your air conditioning system.

For quality residential air conditioning installation in San Antonio, TX, contact Riteway Service Company today.

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