AC Hard Start Kits
What Are They and Do You Need One?
AC hard start kits used to be a standard component of air conditioning units. In most recent years, they have been eliminated and have become one of the most popular add on accessories for air conditioners. If you have a central air conditioning system, then you have probably heard of them and wondered if you need one. Hard start kits offer a range of benefits, if professionally installed and used properly. In this article we will discuss what an AC hard start kit is and if you need one.
What is a hard start kit?
A hard start kit is a start capacitor. It is used to power up an air conditioner that has an issue known as hard starting or difficulty turning on. Other signs of hard starting are short cycling, loud clicking noises or humming, and a tripped breaker. The hard start capacitor collects and stores electricity ahead of time to provide air conditioners or heat pumps with an extra boost of energy at startup. Hard starting can happen for any number of reasons, but one of the most common reasons is an older system with a worn-out compressor.
The compressor is the largest component of the AC and powers on the air conditioner. Over time this jolt of power which creates a surge of heat can damage the compressor and other AC components. A worn out compressor will require even more energy to shift your AC from start to run mode. The hard start kit achieves two things:
1. It shortens the startup period of the compressor.
2. It reduces the amount of electricity used to power up the AC.
Advantages of A Hard Start Kit
1. Higher Energy Efficiency: Without a hard start capacitor, it takes the compressor four to eight times more electric current to start the AC than to keep it running. The hard start capacitor works by storing energy beforehand and can get the compressor motor moving at optimal speed almost immediately. This reduces the amount of energy the startup requires reducing compressor struggle and prolonging the life of your air conditioner. With a hard start capacitor, startup efficiency can be as high as 98% as opposed to 50% without one while reducing wear and tear on your AC and its components.
2. Extend Compressor Lifetime: A compressor is a costly AC component to replace. An AC hard start kit can protect your compressor by minimizing the wear and tear caused by the startup process and therefore reducing the need for AC Repair.
3. Helps Avoid Compressor Replacement: Before installing a hard start kit you may have considered compressor replacement. However, compressor replacement is not always a feasible option due to its high costs. If it is an aging AC system with other failing components it would be best to consider AC replacement instead. A hard start kit is a more affordable option helping you save thousands of dollars by extending the lifespan of your compressor.
4. Assists with Low Voltage Issues: Improperly sized or worn out wiring can lead to insufficient electricity needed for AC startup. A hard start kit can help with these issues as well.
Do You Need A Hard Start Kit?
Anyone with an air conditioner or heat pump should consider having a hard start kit professionally installed. AC hard start kits significantly reduce the strain on your system. Most importantly, consider a hard start kit if your AC is already hard starting or if you have a new air conditioner. Keep in mind that hard start kits cannot be used for variable or two stage air conditioners, due to different electrical configurations.
AC hard start kits are designed for long term use so many HVAC systems benefit from installing one from the very beginning. However, it is important to note that if your compressor is near the end of its lifespan and is failing although a kit would extend the life for a while, it should not be considered a permanent fix. In this case it would be beneficial to consider AC replacement instead.
Contact LA Construction, Heating and Air
Our team at LA Construction, Heating and Air cares about your family comfort. If you are experiencing hard starting issues, we can diagnose the issue and options for repair that fit your budget. We can also provide you with information to help you decide if installing an AC hard start kit is right for you or whether AC replacement would be best. We also perform routing HVAC maintenance, remember that your HVAC works best when regularly maintained. Give us a call today or contact us online, we are here to help you.