With this article, we continue our series on HVAC accessories! Here, we talk about gadgets we believe are must-haves for homeowners who want their systems to last for a long time. To read our first article, click here to learn about Safe-T Float Switches.
Now let’s have a look at something called a hard start kit.
What is it? To understand a hard start kit, you need to know a little about your HVAC system’s electrical circuit. Don’t worry, we won’t get too technical! Promise.
So your condenser (outdoor unit) has a motor inside it called a compressor. When your compressor starts up, it uses A LOT of electricity to get going. Specifically, it uses an amount of electricity we measure on an Amperes (AMPS) scale. Some condensers use upwards of 70 AMPS of electricity to get started. To put it in perspective, it only takes 0.5 AMPS to… put a person to sleep for good.
As you can see, 70 AMPS is a huge amount of electricity. Over time, this huge amount of electricity will wear down your compressor until it becomes inefficient or breaks down. By the way, this start-up electricity is also called inrush current.
This is where the hard start kit comes in. It does a couple of things: first, it stores energy to help your compressor start more easily (about 50 % more easily); second, it takes on some of that inrush current, so your compressor doesn’t have to.
It’d be like if you were walking down the street with a friend and they saw a speeding car about to hit you. So they run over and get directly between you and the speeding car. They’d take most of the impact, and you’d take less. So, the hard start kit takes some of the impact so that your compressor doesn’t have to bear it all.
All this results in your compressor getting the chance at a longer-than-average life. This is the main reason to get a hard start kit!
If you’re wondering, “If this device is so great, why don’t they come installed on every unit?” Good question. The answer is money, money, money. If manufacturers put them on every unit, it would cost them more to make their product, costing customers a lot more to buy them. So it’s cheaper to have them installed after-market.
There are other good reasons to get a hard start kit besides the above:
- If you have an old system (10 -15 years old), it could use the help.
- You want your new system to have an easy life from the beginning.
- If you have two or more HVAC systems; combined, they use enormous amounts of electricity.
- Your system causes your breakers to trip when you turn it on.
- Your lights go dim when you turn on your system.
- You want to unlock your locked-up compressor.
If you’d like a hard start kit installed on your system, or you’re not sure if you have one, call a professional HVAC company to look over your system or install one for you. Better yet, contact Absolute Heat & Air! Get ahold of us by clicking here.