AC Failure fixed by by Vanport Mechanical in Vancouver WA

Is your air conditioner malfunctioning? The most common reason for AC failure is a bad AC capacitor. To help determine this, you can either check if it’s swollen or use a capacitor tester.

However, if you’re unfamiliar with air conditioners, we recommend contacting an HVAC company, like us at Vanport Mechanical. AC capacitors are small but they play a big, powerful role in how your AC works so it’s important that this powerful device only be replaced by experienced technicians.

What is an AC Capacitor?

The capacitor in an AC unit is a small, cylindrical device, composed of 2 metal conductors that send energy to the motor. The air conditioner capacitor not only gives your AC the jump-start it needs, but it also helps keep it continually running.

Keep in mind, every air conditioning system is different, so your unit may actually contain several different capacitors.

How Long Should an AC Capacitor Last?

AC capacitors generally last around 20 years. However, other factors can contribute to your capacitor’s lifespan.

  • Short-cycling: when your AC turns on and off in rapid cycles
  • Undersized start capacitor: when the voltage rating is not powerful enough for your air conditioner
  • Heat exposure: being exposed to heat/sun for long periods of time can really affect capacitors, making them swell or even burst.

Signs Your AC Capacitor is Bad

Below are some common signs of a bad AC capacitor.

  • Air Conditioner is not turning on
  • Air Conditioner turns off on its own
  • AC unit blowing warm air
  • AC unit takes a long time to start
  • AC unit produces a humming sound

Sometimes you can catch a bad capacitor before it completely fails. It will start to produce “clicking” noises. If this happens, you’ll be able to replace your capacitor before the compressor or fans stop working.

Capacitor Testing

Hard-starting is a common problem resulting from a bad AC capacitor. You can identify hard-starting if your AC is struggling to start or if it stutters before turning on and then quickly turns right back off. Although several other things can cause hard-starting, a bad AC capacitor is usually to blame. You’ll want an experienced and NATE certified technician to inspect your AC to be sure.

Other common occurrences with a bad AC capacitor are if your air conditioner is making odd noises, isn’t cooling right, or if it doesn’t have its usual power.

Experiencing AC Failure?

When your air conditioner isn’t working right, various questions may come to you, like What’s the problem? How much is it going to cost? And Is it a quick fix?

If you’re like many homeowners, you like to troubleshoot the issue on your own first. We understand, just keep in mind, if your problem is more complex, you’ll want to contact an HVAC technician like Vanport Mechanical to help keep you safe and keep your air conditioner from becoming damaged.

To help keep your air conditioning unit running smoothly and keep your capacitor operating longer, be sure to routinely schedule maintenance at least every 6 months with us. We’re available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week because we know how important your comfort is.


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AC Failure in Vancouver WA and Portland OR

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