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Can I Run My AC Without a Capacitor – A HVAC Capacitor Replacement Guide

Can I Run My AC Without a Capacitor – A HVAC Capacitor Replacement Guide

We get a lot of phone calls from customers saying their AC isn’t working.
A good portion of those calls is for a common repair. Their capacitor has failed.
If your technician has told you your capacitor has failed, it’s one of those items that you’re going to want to replace.
So, we want to give a fair warning to everyone. If you have an intention of changing your capacitor, they carry a lot more voltage than the typical 240 volts that run through the air conditioner.
Capacitors can and will shock you even when the power is turned off. Serious injury and death can occur as high voltage doesn’t mix well with the human body.
So, this is not intended to teach anybody how to install or replace a capacitor.
We recommend having a real HVAC technician handle this repair as they know how to discharge the capacitor properly so no one gets injured.
A capacitor is a storage bucket of electrons that is constantly giving itself up for the motor it supports and they don’t make them as they used to either.

Capacitors made in the 60s, 70s, and 80s were designed to last a long time. As technicians, we still come across these older-model air conditioners and we’re amazed to see that their capacitors are still running just fine.

That’s kind of unheard of these days. Capacitors today are typically designed to last five to ten years. There are some brands of capacitors that are made better than others.

And it’s up to your HVAC technician to find those good brands and use them in the best interest of you – the customer.
We’ve seen capacitors that only lasted two years. we know of certain brands of air conditioners that are installed brand new and two or three years later, we’re replacing the capacitor.

We use Mars brand capacitors because they’re made in America and we believe they last longer than others.

There are several other brands to use out there but we don’t switch it up and use other brands just because we happen to be near an HVAC supply store that sells those cheaper capacitors.
Most of the motors in your air conditioner can’t run without a good capacitor. Like we said they support these motors. They help the motors start and run efficiently.
Some people have gone out to their air conditioner and notice the fan wasn’t spinning on their AC like normal. So, they get a stick or something to reach into the fan shroud and try to manually get the fan blade to start spinning, and it works now.

This is a classic sign the capacitor for your fan motor is bad and a good example to you why these motors can’t start and run efficiently without a good capacitor.
And we can’t just put any old capacitor in there either. It needs to be the same size recommended by the manufacturer. If it isn’t, the motor might start but will operate out of balance. It causes an uneven magnetic field around the motor which can make the motor noisy, make it work harder which raise the cost to run it or just cause the motor to burn out altogether.
There are differences in a typical dual run capacitors that normally come in your AC and a start capacitor can be added to your system, either by the manufacturer or at your house by a technician.

We wanted to answer this question. If your capacitor has failed, please don’t try to run that part of the system. It will only cause more damage to the system which might force you to replace a bigger, pricier part, or the entire system.
So, just be patient. Hopefully, your technician has one on their truck already, they usually will.
Some of you out there changing these out on your own should be careful. Capacitors carry a lot of power and can injure you before you know it.
So, that’s just a little bit of warning to DIY’ers, if you try to navigate this repair on your own.
If you are buying these parts online because of the price, sure they might be cheaper but that’s nothing compared to getting injured or possibly ruining a more expensive part because you didn’t hook it upright.
If you’re paying the average price of $100 to $300 for a capacitor from your technician, depending on which part of the country you’re in, it’s because you’re paying for that company to have that right one on their truck and install it for you right now.
We highly recommend you give us a call to check out your air conditioner and a possible capacitor failure.

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