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A Hard Starting Kit: Does Your AC Need One?

compressor-in-ac-unitAs an air conditioner ages, it can run into different types of malfunctions, and most will require calling for an HVAC technician to provide professional repairs. In some cases, especially with an AC that’s 15 years older or more, the cost-effective solution may be to have the AC replaced. The most catastrophic failure in an AC that usually means it’s time to get a new one is a burnt-out compressor.

However, a compressor that’s overworking and heading toward a burn-out can often be rescued with a “hard starting kit.” An HVAC technician will know when you need one and can handle installing it.

What is hard starting?

The term hard starting originally comes from rocketry, where it means overpressure on an engine during ignition. A hard-starting air conditioning compressor is one that’s draining far more power during start-up than it should.

A compressor uses the most electrical power of any component in an air conditioner, since this is where the energy from electricity is applied to the refrigerant to put it under higher pressure so it will circulate to create the heat exchange cycle. The compressor draws on the most amperage during the start-up cycle. If the compressor starts to drain more amperage than normal because of extra strain on its components (such as a compressor motor that’s starting to fail), it won’t be long before this strain causes the compressor to wear down and fail early.

If you notice your AC is not cooling as much as it used to, or it’s making loud sounds when the compressor starts up, call for air conditioning repair in Raleigh, NC. Even if the problem isn’t hard starting, there’s still something wrong.

The hard start kit

A hard start kit is one of the ways a repair technician can take the pressure off a compressor so it doesn’t wear down too fast. You can think of a hard start kit as a kind of “kick start” for the compressor and the fan. The hard start kit contains an additional capacitor (the electrical component that sends voltage to motors) to provide additional “juice” to overcome the trouble the AC has with starting up.

Your HVAC technician will determine if your air conditioning system will benefit from a hard start kit, and then install it. (It’s a quick job the technician can do easily.) The kit is only a temporary solution, but it may be enough to keep the air conditioner working for a few more years without energy waste or a drop in cooling performance. The technician can give you an estimate about how long you can expect the air conditioner to run.

The technician may also find that there are other malfunctions in the air conditioner that are causing the hard starting, and a hard start kit will not overcome these. Usually, the technician will recommend you replace the AC in these situations.

You can always trust our HVAC experts to give you honest answers and the best solutions for your home’s cooling.

Let us help you with all your AC repair concerns. Comfort Master Heating & Air Conditioning, Inc. serves the Triangle Area of North Carolina.

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