Do you think you might need a new AC capacitor? You’re probably wondering how much AC capacitors cost and how big of a deal replacement is. When your air conditioning system needs repair, it can be stressful. We sometimes deal with extreme heat here in SWFL being without an air conditioner is not ideal. We understand that, and we’re here to give you the information you need to make an informed decision for your cooling system. We’ll discuss the cost of a new AC capacitor and how to know if you actually need a new one, to begin with. As always, feel free to call the team at Dolphin Cooling with any questions you have.

What is an AC Capacitor?

An AC capacitor is a device used in AC circuits to store electrical charge and to release it when needed. It’s located in your outdoor unit, near the compressor motor. This part, also known as the AC start capacitor or AC run capacitor, is required for your air conditioner to be able to start running. Your HVAC unit uses much more energy to kick on than it does to continue running. The AC capacitor gives it that extra kick through a high-voltage jolt of electricity that it needs to start, and then it cuts off. It’s basically the starter on your car’s engine.

Signs Your AC Capacitor Needs to be Replaced

Below are some of the warning signs your AC capacitor might need to be replaced. To learn more about the signs, why you might have ended up with a bad capacitor, and how to test your HVAC capacitor, read our blog post, AC Capacitors: What They Are and What They Do.

  • Making a humming or buzzing noise
  • Blowing warm air
  • Cycling on and off frequently
  • Failing to start
  • Has an unpleasant smell

Bad AC capacitors can happen for different reasons like age, power surges, and other electrical problems that may result in capacitor fails. AC capacitors are made to last a long time, but depending on the brand you get, they can last anywhere from 5 years and all the way up to 20 years in ideal conditions. Unfortunately, in SWFL we aren’t exactly in ideal conditions. The most common causes of air conditioner issues here come from our regular high temperature year round, but especially in the summer months, which puts a higher demand on all the HVAC system’s components.

How Much Do AC Capacitors Cost to Replace?

The average cost of having an AC Capacitor replaced depends on several factors, including the make and model of the unit, labor costs in your area, and whether you need a single run capacitor or a dual capacitor. The price of the part will vary with brands as well. Some brands will come at a higher cost than others. Generally, the cost of replacing the capacitor can range from $30 to $200, depending on the size and type of capacitor needed.

Labor costs can vary greatly, depending on the complexity of the job and the location of the unit.

The Cost of Not Replacing Your AC Capacitor

An inefficient capacitor can lead to a decrease in the efficiency of the system, leading to an increase in the amount of electricity used. A malfunctioning capacitor can lead to damage to the unit and other components, which will mean you’ll end up with other costly repairs and higher energy bills. Ultimately, replacing a faulty capacitor can help reduce energy costs, increase system efficiency, and protect other components from damage. If your AC capacitor has stopped working entirely, you won’t have any choice but to get a new capacitor.

Can I DIY My AC Capacitor Replacement?

The AC capacitor is a high-voltage part, and working with it can result in serious injury. This is not a simple DIY task. It’s part of the electrical system of your HVAC system, and we do not advise that you try to replace your old capacitor. Although there are some AC repairs that homeowners can do on their own, this is not one of them. You need a trained and licensed HVAC technician to replace your air conditioner capacitor not only for your safety but also to avoid causing further damage to your unit. Paying the cost of labor for an  HVAC professional to complete this task is much better than risking your safety or taking the chance with electrical components that can cause further disrepair.