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Thread: Hard Start Kit

  1. #1
    I have a fairly new system that's working fine. It's under a maintenance agreement with the company that sold it to me. They came out today for the Spring checkup and recommended that I add a surge protector and a hard start kit. OK, the surge protector makes sense. The price tag of xxxx sounded a bit steep, though. But my real question is about the hard start kit. They claim that it will extend the life of my system "10 to 12 years". OK, getting past what appears to be a gross exageration, what EXACTLY does a hard start kit do? I searched the Internet, but all I found were sites selling these, but no technical information / studies. Can anyone here give me a TECHNICAL description of what this does and HOW it extends the life of the compressor? (I'm technically savy, so you don't have to boil it down to laymans terms. I'll ask for a definition if I need it.)

    (No pricing, due to site rules )






    [Edited by Senior Tech on 05-22-2006 at 12:56 PM]

  2. #2
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    I only install hard start kits IF they are needed. And rarely if ever install phase monitors on residential units.

    What hard start kits do is, they give the compressor a little extra voltage (kick) when they start.

    My opinion is that whoever came to your house gets a commission on whatever he sells you.

  3. #3
    Senior Tech, sorry I didn't read the rules.

    newoldtech, thanks for the reply. That's pretty much the opposite of what the tech said. He claimed it was easier on the motor by starting it off with a lower voltage.

  4. #4
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    Hard start kits do help in some situations- if your comp takes longer than what would be normal to start up.
    If your voltage upon start up drops towards the min voltage req for your system EG: you have 230volts and upon startup your volts drops to 195 volts then once the comp gets going it pops back up

    If you loose a phase your comp just won't start period if you have low voltage issues regularly a phase monitor might just be the ticket
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  5. #5
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    Our power co will install a surge protector on your home if you request one at no cost. I have been here 17 years next to some highpower lines have only lost one deep well pump but that was due to age.

    We installed some units at Kings Bay that we had to pull the hard start kits out of becase the volts were too high.

  6. #6
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    If you have a 5 min lock out and indoor fan delay that would save you more money

  7. #7
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    Originally posted by dkocur
    But my real question is about the hard start kit. They claim that it will extend the life of my system "10 to 12 years".
    That is a flat out lie, but all to common practice at companies that pay thier technicians commission for parts sales.

    It may not be dishonesty on the part of the company, just a dishonest tech looking for some commission money. I would take it up with the companies service manager.
    If the service manager defends that claim, that contractor is not to be trusted ever again for anything, and it is time to find a new contractor to service your system.
    If more government is the answer, then it's a really stupid question.

  8. #8
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    Thats old school thinking that you dont need a start cap. with a pot. relay unless the the unit is LRA.

    Increased starting torque=faster starts

    Faster starts=less current pulled

    Less current= COOLER WINDINGS

    Less heat= LONGER COMPRESSOR LIFE

    Now with that said their is no truth to the extra 10-12 years of compressor life.

  9. #9
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    Is it a scroll-type compressor? Is the metering device a TXV? Was the compressor hard-starting?

    There are only two real reasons to install hard-start components on a system: 1) The compressor is a reciprocating piston-type connected to a TXV-metered evap. coil, & 2) the compressor tries to start but is taking longer than normal to do so or it just plain won't.

    If the latter is the reason then I would start saving your pennies; if the former is the case then it's nothing to worry about. However, I have heard it convincingly argued that hard-start components is probably a good idea either way. Unless, of course, you have a scroll-type compressor. If it's a scroll it should never need a hard start, & if it's hard-starting then it should be replaced.
    WHY?

  10. #10
    i can think of another reason... small generator powering A/C during power outages... ive been in the eye of Francis, Jeanne, and the eyewall of Wilma... i hooked up a few neighbors with used ones off my truck till the power came back on...

  11. #11
    OK, here's where I'm at now.

    1. The system is working fine, and even if it wasn't I wouldn't be too worried since I have a 10 year warranty on the compressor and it's only been a couple of years so I'd be getting a new one anyway.
    2. It's a "reciprocating" compressor. That's the piston type, correct? I have no idea if the meter is fixed or TXV. I can ask the tech, but would it really matter?
    3. I'm leaning towards having the hard start kit installed for two reasons.
    a. My lights dim sometimes when the compressor kicks on. The kit should fix this, or at least help. Yes? (I think the dimming is also causing problems with my DSL modem. I have to reboot it frequently.)
    b. The lights dimming indicate to me that the compressor is not getting enough power and therefore the kit may indeed extend the compressor's life. (Don't worry, I'm not expecting an extra 10 to 12 years, and I will talk with the tech's supervisor about his truthfulness.)

    Let me know if you disagree with my inclination (and why). I really appreciate everyone's input. Thanks!


  12. #12
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    Originally posted by Special Ed
    If it's a scroll it should never need a hard start, & if it's hard-starting then it should be replaced.
    Hard start kits on scroll compressors are good in homes where the lights dim when the compressor starts.

    Some manufacturers recommend a hard start kit for scroll compressors that will be used in low ambient conditions, like below 30F.
    Scroll compressors have a lot more internal friction to overcome on startup, wich is why the LRA tends to be higher on them. Very cold conditions make it worse because the oils viscosity goes up when it is cold.

    I agree though, if a scroll compressor is locked up, a start kit is a bad idea, even if it starts the compressor.

    [Edited by mark beiser on 05-23-2006 at 08:53 AM]
    If more government is the answer, then it's a really stupid question.

  13. #13
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    Originally posted by dkocur
    OK, here's where I'm at now.

    1. The system is working fine, and even if it wasn't I wouldn't be too worried since I have a 10 year warranty on the compressor and it's only been a couple of years so I'd be getting a new one anyway.
    2. It's a "reciprocating" compressor. That's the piston type, correct? I have no idea if the meter is fixed or TXV. I can ask the tech, but would it really matter?
    3. I'm leaning towards having the hard start kit installed for two reasons.
    a. My lights dim sometimes when the compressor kicks on. The kit should fix this, or at least help. Yes? (I think the dimming is also causing problems with my DSL modem. I have to reboot it frequently.)
    b. The lights dimming indicate to me that the compressor is not getting enough power and therefore the kit may indeed extend the compressor's life. (Don't worry, I'm not expecting an extra 10 to 12 years, and I will talk with the tech's supervisor about his truthfulness.)

    Let me know if you disagree with my inclination (and why). I really appreciate everyone's input. Thanks!



    In your original post you didn't mention your lights dimmed.

    That changes my original answer to yes. I now would add the hard start kit.

    I only put them in when necessary. And lights dimming fits my criteria.

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