How to Discharge Air Conditioner Capacitor ?

An air conditioner is host to a number of mechanical, electrical and electronic components. Regular maintenance and replacement of each is paramount to ensure good cooling and a high quality of air, free from dirt, debris, bacteria, pollen, allergens etc.

The main air conditioning unit has to be dis-assembled for access to most of these parts and while doing that, it is necessary to ensure that air conditioner capacitors have been discharged properly.

Capacitors are devices which store electrical energy. For air conditioners, they come in handy when a sudden surge in cooling is required. There are two main types of capacitors in an air conditioning unit, called the run and the start capacitors.

Depending upon the size and design of an air conditioner, there can be one or multiple capacitors in it.

How to Discharge Air Conditioner Capacitor ?
How to Discharge Air Conditioner Capacitor ?

Before working on an appliance or electronic device, you must first discharge its capacitor.

How To Discharge An Air Conditioner's Run Capacitor

  • Step 1: Shut Off Power and Find the Run Capacitor

Turn off the main power to your air conditioner using the breaker box directly next to the unit or your indoor primary breaker box. Use your owner's manual to determine where your run capacitor is located. The capacitor is usually directly on the motor or mounted to an interior wall nearby.

  • Step 2: Prep the Run Capacitor

Locate the run capacitor and make note of the wires sticking out of the terminal connects. Use a pair of insulated pliers – the insulation is vital to keep yourself from getting electrocuted when metal touches wires – to remove the wires. 

  • Step 3: Discharge the Run Capacitor

Some guides recommend discharging the run capacitor using a screwdriver with an insulated handle. But that technique can end up blowing a fuse and destroying a capacitor that might have been healthy before the discharging.

Discharge AC Capacitor

You should discharge electricity from your capacitor before replacing it, even if it looks damaged.  Here are step-by-step procedures for discharging an AC capacitor: 

  • Turn off power to your air handling unit.
  • Locate the capacitor
  • Discharge the capacitor using a screwdriver
  • Change the capacitor
How to Discharge Air Conditioner Capacitor ?
How to Discharge Air Conditioner Capacitor ?

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