Imagine this – the house feels like a furnace, and your AC will not stop going on and off continuously. Sounds frustrating, right?
This is probably because the AC has a busted capacitor. The capacitor is a small device in the cooling system but is quite essential. It provides that extra kick to the fan/motor and compressor so that it runs smoothly. If it malfunctions, the AC will not work and keep turning on and off.
Thankfully, this is a part that can be replaced and is found readily in the market. If you suspect that the AC’s capacitor is failing and need more information on how to fix this situation, you’re in the right place. Our guide describes how they work, cost, types, and many other essential things.
Now, time is of the essence, so let’s get into the details!
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AC Unit Capacitor Cost
As we mentioned already, the capacitor gives other components that extra kick to operate without interruption. This device collects energy while the AC is turned off. Once the AC comes on, it sends a jolt to the compressor and motor.
There are two types – start and run capacitors. A start capacitor is one that only produces enough energy to start the motor. Once it does that, it will stop supplying energy until required. A run capacitor is more commonly used in residential air conditioners. It only operates when the system is on and provides enough energy to keep it running continuously.
A run capacitor has two types – single and dual. A single-run capacitor is like a start capacitor and is only used to operate motors for blowers and fans. The dual capacitor is what you will find in the AC at home. It has a “dual” function as it kickstarts the motor and does not disengage, rather keeps the compressor running.
Is My AC Capacitor Failing?
Having an old AC or frequent voltage fluctuations are some of the main reasons for capacitors to fail. Since it is a small device, it is fragile and can easily get spoiled due to power surges. Moreover, overheating of the entire unit due to outside temperature can damage the capacitor.
There are many ways to tell if the capacitor is failing. If the AC’s fan refuses to work, there is a chance the capacitor is damaged. The compressor not coming on is also a sign of a failing capacitor.
Humming noises, the unit not coming on, or oil leakage from the capacitor are guaranteed signs of a damaged capacitor. At this point, it would help to figure out how to replace it.
Replacing The Capacitor – What To Expect?
Since it is an essential part of the AC unit, we understand if you fear high costs. However, it is entirely possible to replace a capacitor yourself, where the major expense is for the device. The price range for just the capacitor is $5 to $200, depending on the type and brand.
If it’ll be your DIY project, we suggest avoiding the cheapest capacitor. It will be more beneficial to choose a mid-ranged one that guarantees quality and is reliable. Choosing a cheap capacitor might end up in more expenses if it does not last long.
Also, we recommend adding costs for the tools needed to the DIY budget. Even though this can be done yourself, it is not an easy task and requires professional-level tools. So, make sure you are comfortable using them.
There is a chance that DIY is not your cup of tea. In that case, hire a professional and let them take care of it. However, this will increase the expenses by a bit as it costs around $120-$150 to get the work done.
The price quoted usually includes the cost of the capacitor as well as labor charges. This can change based on where you live. If the damage is severe and the capacitor spoils other parts of the AC unit, that will also increase the expenses.
Choosing The Right Capacitor
If you have chosen to go down the DIY path, then picking the ideal capacitor is essential. Not only does it have to be perfect for the unit, but it has to last long to avoid additional expenses. When picking a capacitor, check the voltage capacity. This is vital since the capacitor’s range has to match with the system.
Next, the capacitance value also has to match the system, just like the voltage. If the value is not compatible with the system, it can lead to the motors not running fast enough or burning out.
Choosing the right shape and size is also essential. Residential AC systems have round or oval-shaped capacitors that are around 2-4 inches in length. Take a good look at the one you will replace to figure out the ideal size and shape.
Is there a way to keep my AC capacitor from getting damaged?
All electronic devices are bound to fail at some point, and the capacitor is no exception. However, you can make sure it has a long lifespan by incorporating some best practices. Ensuring there is no debris around the AC unit and keeping a check on the wires will be of tremendous help.
What is the lifespan of an average capacitor?
When kept in good condition, the capacitor can last for about 15-20 years. However, this can change depending on various factors such as voltage, power cuts, the temperature outside, and the age of the capacitor.
With that, we come to the end of our guide on AC capacitor cost. We hope that this has been informative and will help in times of need.
We want to reiterate that the cost of an AC capacitor is not high and can be replaced without professional help if you are on a tight budget. However, hiring someone will be the more convenient option and worth the money spent.