What Are Capacitors?
One of the key parts of the electrical system in an air conditioner is the capacitors. Without capacitors, the motors that power the compressor and fans would not be able to work. We’ll look a bit closer at what capacitors do and what might go wrong when a capacitor starts to fail.
The aircon capacitor carries out three main functions:
starting the AC motors, facilitating power conditioning and signal processing. Thus, if there is some problem with the capacitor then your Aircon unit wouldn’t be able to function optimally and provide satisfactory cooling. It is often noted that failure of capacitors result in breakdown of the air conditioners. Thus, if your AC is not working then the first thing which you should check is the capacitor because it is most likely to be conked out.
One of the primary reasons for capacitor failure would be running the Aircon for an extended period of time. In a country like Malaysia & Singapore which has a tropical climate, the hot climate and the overheating of the air conditioner can result in blowing up of the capacitor and AC fuses. If you notice that your Aircon produces a humming sound while the fan no longer runs then it is a clear indication that your aircon capacitor has blown up. The best way to tell whether your capacitor is alright or not is to have a professional conduct a checkup. If it has indeed blown up then the professional AirCon servicing expert would replace it.
Problems with Failing Capacitors
Capacitors can sustain damage from excess power and will also wear down to the point where they can no longer hold a charge. As a capacitor begins to fail, you will usually hear a clicking sound from within in the cabinet. Call for repairs right away before one of the motors stops working.
When a run or start capacitor (or both) dies, the motor to which it is attached will still attempt to come on, but hum instead of activating. If this continues, the motor could burn out and require a full replacement.
Weakening capacitors connected to the compressor will lead to a condition called “hard starting,” where the Aircon will struggle to turn on and then shut off again soon after. This places immense strain on the compressor and the other parts of the Aircon, and the system will need professional attention immediately.
In most cases, professionals will replace the capacitors that are risking the operation of the air conditioner. You should never attempt to do the replacement on your own, since the oil that leaks from broken and damaged capacitors is often dangerous to handle.
Although the electrical system needs the most repairs of any part of an air conditioner, you can still prevent most of these repairs through a system of regular maintenance.
A tip here for AirCon owners:
Maintain your Aircon well to protect the capacitor and to prolong the lifespan of the Aircon unit. Keep in mind that your air conditioner is working extra hard in order to keep your room cool. The all year round tropical climate of Malaysia combined with the heat generated by the hard working motors can make it really difficult for the aircon capacitor to ‘keep its cool’, which is why it breaks down. Thus, it is advisable to not have the AC running for an extended period of time. You can switch it off when you reach a comfortable temperature, the room will stay cool for a while and then you’ll need to have the AC switched on again.
It is also advisable to engage in regular care and maintenance for your air conditioner. First and foremost, you should keep the AC coils and the air filters clean so that it would preserve the AC and the aircon capacitor of course. When you take good care of your AC, it would thank you back!