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A Hard-Starting Air Conditioner: What It Is, What We Can Do About It

Posted on: August 1, 2016

The stress of a long summer can sometimes spell serious problems for an air conditioning system. Think of it like a car that’s going on a long trip: there always exists the chance that something could go wrong with the vehicle because of all that mileage.

If you remembered to schedule spring maintenance for your AC, it has a strong chance of sailing through summer without running into major trouble. But there’s no way to prevent all malfunctions. One you may encounter during a hot summer is a hard-starting compressor in the air conditioner.

What Is Hard-Starting?

Hard-starting means the compressor is struggling to overcome the pressure inside it when it starts up the cooling cycle. The compressor does the vital job in an air conditioning system of placing refrigerant under pressure so that it turns into a hot, high-pressure gas that circulates through the heat exchange cycle. When the compressor strains to overcome the initial pressure, it will start making a larger demand on the electrical power. The extra stress will also increase wear and tear, making a breakdown much more likely.

How Can I Tell That the Compressor Is Hard-Starting?

The most clear sign is that the compressor will stutter when it tries to come on to starting cooling down the house. You may also hear a clicking sound, which comes from the capacitors that send voltage to the compressor’s motors. In general, if the time it takes for the AC to begin to cool down your house is becoming lengthier, it’s likely that hard-starting is responsible. A hard-starting compressor can also cause a circuit breaker to trip.

What Can Be Done about Hard-Starting?

In cases of an extremely old air conditioner, hard-starting may indicate that it’s time to replace the system (or sometimes just the compressor). But if the air conditioner is younger, technicians can overcome hard-starting by attaching a hard-start kit to the compressor. This provides extra power for the compressor to start and get to work faster.

If you need air conditioning repairs, just call Bud Matthews Services in Durham, NC.

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We recognize that our services are of a special and often emergency nature, and we remain fully committed to fulfilling the needs of our community even as potential demand for our services may increase with more families either choosing to or being required to remain home for extended periods of time. More importantly, the safety of our employees and customers is always our highest priority, and we recognize that heightened diligence and focus on health and safety is required during these challenging times. We are actively monitoring updates from the CDC, WHO and local health officials; and we have been proactively and continually implementing measures and developing plans to prioritize the health and well-being of our employees and customers. Including:

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