How Long Does an AC Capacitor Last

How Long Does an AC Capacitor Last?


When it comes to the longevity of your air conditioning system, one crucial component to consider is the AC capacitor. This small but mighty device plays a significant role in the proper functioning of your AC unit. Understanding how long an AC capacitor lasts and the factors affecting its lifespan is essential for maintaining your cooling system efficiently.

What is an AC Capacitor?

An AC capacitor, short for air conditioning capacitor, is an electrical component that stores and releases electrical energy to help start the compressor and fan motors in your air conditioning system. It acts as a temporary battery, supplying the extra voltage needed during startup.

Types of AC Capacitors

Two main types of AC capacitors are used in air conditioning systems: start capacitors and run capacitors. Start capacitors provide the extra torque needed to start the compressor, while run capacitors help maintain a consistent voltage supply to keep the motor running smoothly.

Factors Affecting AC Capacitor Lifespan

Several factors influence the lifespan of an AC capacitor, including:

  • Usage Frequency: The more often your air conditioning system operates, the more strain it puts on the capacitor.
  • Operating Conditions: Extreme temperatures and humidity levels can affect the performance and longevity of capacitors.
  • Quality of Capacitor: Higher-quality capacitors tend to last longer and withstand harsher conditions better.
  • Environmental Factors: Exposure to dust, debris, and other contaminants can degrade the capacitor over time.

Signs of a Failing AC Capacitor

Knowing the warning signs of a failing AC capacitor can help prevent unexpected breakdowns. Common symptoms include weak airflow, warm air from the vents, and unusual noises such as humming or buzzing.

Average Lifespan of AC Capacitors

The average lifespan of an AC capacitor can vary depending on several factors, but generally, start capacitors last around 5 to 10 years, while run capacitors have a lifespan of 10 to 20 years.

Extending the Lifespan of AC Capacitors

Regular maintenance and servicing can extend the lifespan of your AC capacitor. This includes cleaning the unit, inspecting for any signs of damage, and replacing worn-out parts as needed.

Replacing an AC Capacitor

If your AC capacitor shows signs of failure, it must be replaced promptly to avoid further damage to your air conditioning system. While some homeowners may choose to replace the capacitor themselves, hiring a professional is recommended to ensure safety and proper installation.

Cost of AC Capacitor Replacement

The cost of replacing an AC capacitor can vary depending on factors such as the type of capacitor, the brand, and the contractor’s labor fees. On average, homeowners can expect to pay anywhere from $100 to $500 for capacitor replacement.


Regular maintenance and timely replacement of AC capacitors are crucial for ensuring the longevity and efficiency of your air conditioning system. By understanding the factors affecting capacitor lifespan and recognizing the warning signs of failure, you can keep your home relaxed and comfortable year-round.


  1. How do I know if my AC capacitor is failing?
  • Signs of a failing AC capacitor include weak airflow, warm air from vents, and strange noises from the unit.
  1. Can I replace my AC capacitor myself?
  • While some homeowners may attempt DIY capacitor replacement, hiring a professional for safety and proper installation is recommended.
  1. How often should AC capacitors be inspected?
  • AC capacitors should be inspected annually as part of routine maintenance to ensure they are in good working condition.
  1. Are there any warning signs before an AC capacitor fails?
  • Common warning signs of a failing AC capacitor include decreased cooling performance and unusual noises from the unit.
  1. What happens if I don’t replace a failing AC capacitor?
  • Ignoring a failing AC capacitor can lead to further damage to your air conditioning system, potentially resulting in more costly repairs.
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