Average Life Expectancy of Air Conditioner Capacitors

A man works on an air conditioner.

An air conditioner capacitor is a device necessary to start the unit’s compressor. If the unit is not working right, request assistance from a service technician to help you address the capacitor issue immediately. Otherwise, many other problems will occur with the air conditioner. These problems include leaks, brown-outs, compressor failure, and inadequate cooling.


There are many reasons why a capacitor will not last the lifetime of the air conditioning unit, including:

  • Rusting of the capacitor’s terminal connections.
  • Loose wire hook-ups causing the wires to burn or melt.
  • Short delays between capacitor run-times not allowing for the freon coolant to maintain its level properly.
  • Manufacturer’s defects (often times can be detected by a service technician) before a recall could occur at the retail location.


An air conditioning unit.

If these issues are addressed immediately, the original air conditioner capacitor should last the lifetime of the unit. It is uncommon for a regularly maintained air conditioner to experience a capacitor break-down. Maintain the air conditioning unit every year, and see that it is cleaned once per year by an experienced and reputable service technician.

There are many units that come with manufacturer’s guidelines, too, outlining specifically how to clean and maintain the air conditioning unit. If the unit did not come with these materials, contact the manufacturer or go online to make a request.