Do I need a hard start kit air conditioner

When it comes to solving the hard start problem of an air conditioner, there are a lot of options that always come into the discussion. One of them is using a hard start kit.

A lot of people ask us that do I need a hard start kit for an air conditioner? How does a hard start kit work and when should you use it? Is a hard start kit worth it?

In this article, we will tell you everything you should know about hard start kits and air conditioners.

What is a hard start kit

A hard start kit is a capacitor (energy storing device) whose job is to collect and store electricity ahead of time and provide an extra boost of energy to your air conditioner when it’s starting up.

As the name suggests, the job of a hard start kit is to solve the hard starting problem of your air conditioner.

Keep in mind that all the electrical devices including air conditioners require a lot more energy during startup as compared to the energy required for just running.

That increased jolt of electricity during start-up can create a lot of heat and stress that your air conditioner cannot handle. It can damage the compressor or other important components of your air conditioner.

This is where a hard start kit becomes important.

The hard start kit provides an extra boost of electricity to your air conditioner at the time of startup. It shortens the startup time and also reduces the amount of electricity that your AC needs for starting up.

This way it decreases the heat and stress on your AC unit and reduces wear and tear. Your AC gets a longer life!

How does an AC hard start kit work

Are you wondering how does the hard start kit of an air conditioner works?

Well, we will make it easier for you to understand this whole thing.

Hard start kits help solve the hard starting problem of your air conditioner.

When you turn on your air conditioner, its compressor also turns on to start the cooling process.

But the compressor needs 4 to 8 times more electricity for starting up than it needs for just running.

That’s a lot more electric current!

This big jolt of current will create a lot of stress and heat over time that can damage the compressor or other parts of your air conditioner.

Especially, if the compressor of your air conditioner is old, then it will be more vulnerable to damage. Also, the old and worn-out compressors will require an even bigger amount of current for just starting up.

Here a hard start kit will save your AC.

It will shorten the startup period of the compressor by supplying it with an extra boost of electric current. Plus, it will also reduce the amount of current that your AC needs for starting up.

The electrical efficiency of the startup process with a hard start kit is around 98%.

The electrical efficiency of the startup process without a hard start kit is around 50%.

This way the hard start kit reduces a lot of heat, stress, and wear and tear on the compressor and other parts of the air conditioner unit.

Do hard start kits save energy

Yes, hard start kits save you a lot of energy. Wondering how?

Well,

A hard start kit reduces the amount of electricity consumed by the compressor during startup.

The electrical efficiency of the compressor startup process with a hard start kit is about 98%.

This shows that a hard start kit saves you a lot of energy and also increases the life of your air conditioner unit.

Is a hard start kit necessary

Yes, if your air conditioner is struggling with hard start problems then a hard start kit is necessary for your AC.

It will help fix the problem by supplying an extra boost of current to the compressor at the time of startup.

This way you will save a lot of energy.

The hard start kit will also reduce the heat, stress, and wear and tear on the compressor of your air conditioner.

It will prevent damage to the compressor and other important components and increase the life of your air conditioner unit.

These were all the reasons why a hard start kit is necessary.

Can the hard start kit damage compressor

Can hard start kit damage compressor? Yes, if you will use the wrong size of hard start kit for your air conditioner then it might damage the compressor of your AC.

The reason is that it will send an excess amount of current for too long. Much more than what your air conditioner compressor needs for starting up.

This surge of electric current can burn the wires or cause other damages to your air conditioner unit.

For example, if you are using a hard start kit designed for a 5-ton air conditioner on a 3-ton air conditioner then the current would be too much. This way the compressor of your AC will inevitably get damaged.

Does a scroll compressor need a hard start kit

No, a scroll compressor does not need a hard start kit, however, it is recommended. Even if your scroll compressor is in good condition, using a hard start kit will improve its performance and extend its life.

When is a hard start kit needed

You will need a hard start kit when you noticed these signs in your AC units.

  1. Whenever your compressor turns on, you hear a clicking sound. This usually means something is wrong with the compressor.
  2. Your AC starts, but then it stops working after some time.
  3. When you turn on your AC, you notice that the light flickers: this means your AC unit is making use of too much energy during startup.
  4. Whenever the circuit breaker of your AC is tripped by the compressor. This also means your a/c is using too much energy during startup.

Are all hard start kits the same

Yes, all hard kits are the same and are generally meant to help make it easier for air conditioners that struggle to turn on to have a good start with no hiccups.

Hard start kit vs soft start kits

While the hard start kit makes starting up easy for air conditioners and other applications, the soft starter helps improve the life span of your compressor and other appliances. However, while they may seem to serve similar purposes, they both are different in some ways, check below for details.

  1. Hard starters stores energy in it’s a capacitor to work effectively, soft starters control the amount of voltage flowing through a motor’s circuit.
  2. You install a hard start kit when your unit is having a hard start, while you need a soft start installed when there’s a need to control the torque as well as the starting current of your motor’s start-up and stop.

Do I need a hard start kit

Now as you have read about all pros and cons of a hard start kit. The next question in your brain might be that:

Do I need a hard start kit for my AC?

Well, here are the circumstances under which you will need the hard start kit for AC.

Case #1 – If your AC has hard start problems

If your air conditioner is suffering from hard start problems, then you will surely need a hard start kit.

But now you must be thinking that how do you know your air conditioner has hard start problems?

Well, here are all the symptoms of a hard start problem in your AC:

Frequently turning off

If your air conditioner quickly turns off after you turn it on then it means that your air conditioner has hard start problems.

Clicking noises

If your air conditioner is giving out clicking sounds while starting then it means that it has hard start problems.

Tripping the circuit breaker

If your air conditioner is frequently tripping the circuit breaker then it means that it’s using too much energy for the startup. This is also a common symptom of a hard start problem.

Lights flickering

If your air conditioner is unusually flickering the lights at the time of startup then it means that it is drawing too much energy. This is also a symbol of the hard start problem.

Case #2 – If your AC is new

Most of the air conditioner units have built-in hard start devices.

However, some of the new air conditioner models do not come with any hard start devices.

If your AC also has none, then you should consider getting one.

A hard start kit does not only help with the hard start problems but also helps the compressor deal with high head pressure or low voltages.

Are hard start kits worth it

Yes, hard start kits are worth it.

They offer you plenty of benefits like energy savings and the increased life of an air conditioner.

But if the compressor of your air conditioner is already old and worn out then a hard start kit may not be worth it in the long run. It will increase the life of the compressor for a short time but eventually, you will have to get it replaced or get a new AC unit.

How much is a hard start kit for an air conditioner

Are you thinking about how much does a hard start kit for air conditioner costs?

Well, you can easily get a hard start kit for anywhere between $15 to $75 depending upon the quality, brand, and local prices. Hard start kits are available at your local home improvement stores and you can also get them from online marketplaces.

Remember that this is just the cost of the hard start kit. The installation cost is separate.

How much does a hard start kit installation cost?

For installing the hard start kit, you will need the services of an HVAC technician.

They may charge you around $100 to $175 for labor costs.

Hence, the total project might cost you around $135 to $250.

The exact cost may vary depending upon your local prices.

How long do hard start kits last

What is the average life of a hard start kit?

Well, a good quality hard start kit can easily survive for many years. In most cases, it lasts more than a decade (10 years).

What size hard start kit goes bad

No matter the size of your hard start kit, just make sure the size of the cap of your capacitor fits in well with the motor size.

How to choose the right hard start kit

If you don’t have any technical knowledge, then how do you choose the right hard start kit?

Well, you need to make sure that the size of the hard start kit is suitable for the size of your air conditioner.

You can take help from an HVAC technician, or even use the internet.

The best way is to go to the store and tell them about the size, type, and model of your air conditioner.

They will help you with getting the right hard start kit for your air conditioner.

How to install a hard start kit

Installing a hard start kit for an air conditioner is a technical job.

You are advised to hire the services of a professional HVAC technician. They are professionals and they know how to do install it properly.

Don’t do it yourself if you do not know anything about it. You may end up hurting yourself or damaging the air conditioner unit.

An HVAC technician might cost you around $100 to $175.

Therefore, it is always good to hire one.

How to wire in a hard start kit

Follow the simple steps below to guide you through the process of wiring in a hard start kit.

  1. Turn off the power.
  2. Wrap plumbers tapes around the kit and secure the electrical panels of the air conditioner.
  3. You should see 2 wires protruding from the hard star kit, fix those wires into the A/C capacitor (C and H ports).

How to check a hard start kit

After installing your hard start kit, you can check if it is properly installed by following th4 simple steps below.

  1. Check whether the potential relay is properly installed according to instructions.
  2. Ensure your capacitor is in good shape.
  3. If there’s nothing wrong with the connection and there’s not a reduction in the flow of current, proceed to the next step.
  4. Pick one of the wires of the hard start capacitor and put a current meter on it. Then press the start button and start the compressor by pressing the start button on the relay of the capacitor.
  5. If it is working properly, the current draw will display on the start capacitor for about a second. If there’s a reduction in the current flow, then the capacitor is working, but if otherwise, something is wrong with your connection.

What are the benefits of a hard start kit

Here is a list of benefits you can get after installing a hard start kit for your air conditioner:

  1. It will extend the life of the compressor of your air conditioner.
  2. It will help your air conditioner deal with improper wiring or low voltage problems.
  3. It will provide you with better energy efficiency. Your AC will use less electricity while starting up and save you more money.
  4. It will increase the life of your AC and its different components.
  5. It will keep your compressor working for a long time and save you more than a thousand dollars in replacement and repairs.
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