Frequently Asked Questions About Capacitors

We receive many inquiries regarding capacitors and why it’s so important to replace them when changing a motor. Here are a few common questions we receive about capacitors:

(1) What Purpose Does the Capacitor Serve?
The air conditioner capacitor is a device that briefly stores electrical energy. It uses that energy in your air conditioner to help start and run the fan motor and compressor.

(2) Why Is It Important to Replace the Capacitor when Replacing My Motor?
Replacing your capacitor when you replace your motor assures you that the new motor you just purchased will start when you turn it on and give you years of service. Professional HVAC contractors ALWAYS replace the capacitor when changing out a motor. It’s cheap insurance.

(3) What Kind of Symptom Does a Bad HVAC Capacitor Exhibit?
The motor will not spin unless manually rotated.

(4) How Do I Know Which Capacitor I Should Order?
Your dual capacitor is round with three electrical prongs on top and can be found inside the electrical control panel of your air conditioner.  There is a label on the front of the capacitor that lists the part number and specifications of your capacitor.

(5) Is the “Free Capacitor” included with some condenser fan motors a dual run capacitor? Is it like the capcitor my unit came with?
No, the free capacitor is a single pole run capacitor that serves the fan motor only and must be wired in separately from the dual capacitor your unit came with. If you do not wish to wire in the free capacitor then we recommend replacing your dual capacitor when replacing your condenser fan motor and discarding the free capacitor.

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