Today we’re answering a common question we get, “How long do air conditioner capacitors last?”

In Southwest Florida and other hot, humid climates, air conditioner capacitors are one of the most important components of an air conditioner unit. Without them, the AC unit won’t function properly. The AC capacitor is one of the most common parts replaced on air conditioners. If you keep your AC system for at least 10 years, you’ll probably end up running into an AC capacitor failure at some point, especially living in this climate.

Since you need a functioning capacitor to cool your home, let’s discuss how long air conditioner capacitors last, what factors influence their lifespan, and how to maintain them in Southwest Florida properly.

What is an Air Conditioner Capacitor?

An air conditioner capacitor is a device that helps store and release electrical energy within an air conditioning unit. It helps the motor start, run, and stop and helps regulate the voltage and current going through the motor. Capacitors come in two types: a start capacitor and a run capacitor. Start capacitors help the motor start, while run capacitors help the motor run and regulate the voltage and current.

The air conditioner capacitor is typically located near the compressor inside the air conditioning unit. It is usually a cylindrical-shaped device with two terminals. Sometimes a unit will have a dual capacitor. Dual-run capacitors help to provide the correct phase shift and power factor to the motor. They also help to reduce the power dissipation in the motor, which can lead to more efficient operation.

The capacitor is typically located in the outdoor unit of an air conditioning system. It is normally mounted near the compressor, contactor, or fan motor. The capacitor’s job is to provide a boost of energy to the compressor and fan motor in an air conditioner. When the capacitor is charged, it stores energy and is then able to release it when the compressor or fan motor needs it.

Along with helping the air condition startup and run efficiently, the capacitor also helps protect the motor from damage by providing a steady flow of electricity. It helps to regulate the voltage and current in an air conditioner’s motor, so without a capacitor, the motor would be subject to damage from over-voltage and current.

How Long Do Air Conditioner Capacitors Last in Florida?

The lifespan of an air conditioner capacitor can vary greatly, depending on a number of factors. Generally speaking, capacitors in Southwest Florida last between five to ten years. In some cases, they can last for up to fifteen years.

Factors That Influence Capacitor Lifespan

There are a number of factors that can influence the lifespan of an air conditioner capacitor, including:

Quality of the Capacitor

The quality of the capacitor is an important factor in determining its lifespan. Low-quality capacitors can fail prematurely, while higher-quality capacitors tend to last longer. A high-quality capacitor is essential for an AC system in Florida due to the intense heat and humidity that is present year-round. They are designed to withstand extreme temperatures and to last longer, helping to prevent the need for costly repairs and replacements.


The amount of usage a capacitor gets can also have an effect on its lifespan. If a capacitor is used more frequently, it will likely need to be replaced more often. Of course, in Florida, your cooling system works very hard, and pretty consistently, so usage of a dual run capacitor or single capacitors is not really something you can control.


Properly maintaining an air conditioner capacitor is essential to its longevity. This includes regularly cleaning and checking the capacitor for any signs of wear or damage. Regular maintenance of your air conditioner overall is important for increasing its lifespan and keeping it running efficiently.

Check out our maintenance plans for more information on how to get regular preventative maintenance from an HVAC professional and save money on repairs. Regular maintenance allows your HVAC technician to keep an eye on your AC’s electrical system, which you need a certified technician to maintain or repair. They can look out for warning signs you might miss that you could be starting to have AC problems and take care of the problem before it gets worse and more costly.


The climate in Southwest Florida is hot and humid, which can be hard on your air conditioner’s capacitor and are not ideal conditions for increasing the lifespan of your AC unit. The heat and humidity can cause the capacitor to corrode or overheat. Your AC capacitor stores energy and extreme heat can reduce its capacity for electrical charge.

Power Surges

You may also need a new AC capacitor as a result of a power surge, lightning strike, or even fluctuations in the electric grid.

6 Signs of a Failing Capacitor

A failing AC capacitor will show signs, however, some of these signs can also be signs of other types of HVAC system issues. If you get any of these hints that your AC is not operating optimally, the HVAC techs at Dolphin Cooling and Heating can diagnose the issue for you.

  1. Buzzing, humming, or whining noises coming from the outdoor unit.
  2. The outdoor fan is not running properly or is not running at all.
  3. The AC system is cycling on and off more frequently than usual.
  4. The AC system is not producing cold air.
  5. The AC system is producing a burning smell.
  6. Higher energy bills than usual.

Maintaining Air Conditioner Capacitors in Florida

In order to maximize the lifespan of an air conditioner capacitor in Southwest Florida, it is important to properly maintain it. This includes regularly cleaning the capacitor, checking it for any signs of wear or damage, and replacing it when necessary.

Replacement of a Failed Capacitor

If your capacitor fails or is showing signs that it may soon fail, you should contact HVAC experts. The capacitor is an electrical component that should be handled by a trained and licensed professional for safety purposes. There is also a chance that your warranty could be voided if unauthorized parts are installed and/or parts are installed by an unlicensed professional.

Contact us to have your AC issues diagnosed and repaired with great care and excellent customer service!