First off, if you don’t already know what hard starting is, allow us to elaborate. This name is given to a condition that can impact air conditioner and other mechanical devices (like your car, for instance) when the motors and compressor responsible for operating the system have trouble coming on and staying on.
If you’re unsure of whether or not your AC has an issue with this, pay attention when it comes up. Is the air conditioner stuttering as it attempts to start, but then cycles off soon after coming to life? Are you hearing clicking and grinding noises when this occurs, too? Then your AC is hard starting. But why?
Why Hard Starting Occurs
If anything is wrong with your air conditioner, or even if you suspect it’s not performing at its best, the next step you should take is to call in the pros for air conditioning repair Leesburg, VA. But as far as hard starting goes, we’d like to help explain what’s going on, as many homeowners may hesitate to think this is a really big problem that warrants a call to a professional HVAC contractor.
There are a few reasons hard starting might occur. One of the more common issues is failing capacitors. Capacitors are the electronic devices that temporarily store voltage, and send it to the motors to either start them running or keep them running.
Heat—which we have plenty of all summer long—can actually cause capacitors to begin losing their ability to store a charge. So the motors will experience difficulty in doing their job. In addition to hard starting, you might hear a clicking noise. This is indicative of capacitors that need replacement.
Another possible cause for hard starting is an electrical issue, like loose wires. Or in other cases, it may be your compressor (essentially the heart of your air conditioner) has become “tight” and is having difficulty moving. Therefore, the motors can wear down from loss of lubrication. It’s worth mentioning here that this type of wear and tear can be avoided with annual (or semi-annual, if you have a heat pump) professional maintenance.
Why Hard Starting Hurts Your Cooling System
An air conditioner experiencing hard starting is a lot more likely to suffer a full breakdown due to the extra strain placed on its components. This is particularly harmful to the air conditioner’s compressor, since if this part overheats and fails, it will need to be replaced.
And in most cases if a compressor needs replacement, it’s almost always a wiser choice to replace the entire air conditioner. Essentially, hard starting causes your air conditioner to work harder than it should have to—inefficiently. This will create a rise in energy bills since the system actually uses the most power during its start-up cycle. Hard starting makes this more draining than ever.