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The Potential Causes of a Hard-Starting Air Conditioner

residential-ac-outdoor-unitThere’s one air conditioner problem we talk about fairly often, and that’s because its presence means your air conditioner is in serious trouble. That’s short-cycling, when your air conditioner cycles on and off rapidly instead of in regular intervals like it is supposed to. It wears down on your system faster that your air conditioner would normally accumulate wear and tear, and can even be an indication that your new system wasn’t properly sized.

There’s a less common AC repair issue that’s worth mentioning too, as it can also have detrimental consequences for your air conditioner, and that’s hard-starting. Hard starting is when you hear your air conditioner struggles to come on but then sort of “booms” when it finally does.

The Compressor Is the Problem

Your air conditioner’s compressor is essentially the heart of the system—the pump that enables the refrigerant to circulate through the system and apply energy to that refrigerant. It is the most expensive component of the air conditioner to replace—and its failure typically signals it’s time to replace the entire air conditioner. The hard-starting problem is actually an indication of compressor issues—more specifically, it’s a sign your compressor is burning out.

The best way to prevent this, of course, is with annual preventive maintenance (or biannual if you’re using a year-round heat pump system). Without our technicians regularly checking your air conditioner and its compressor, the following issues can cause the compressor to hard-start and eventually burnout:

  • Loss of Lubrication: If the compressor’s moving parts aren’t properly lubricated, the system can seize up and burnout. Lubricating moving components is an important part of your overall air conditioning tune-up.
  • Bad Oil: Just like with your vehicle, if the oil in your compressor becomes too viscous, it will eventually ruin the motor and cause a failure.
  • Acid and Moisture: During maintenance, our techs do checks on things like moisture and acid in the compressor to see if these things are causing issues. Humidity increases the chance of moisture damage, and acid build-up is common in AC systems.
  • Failed Fan: A broken or malfunctioning outdoor fan is a problem for any air conditioner in general, but it can also lead to a burned-out compressor, as the fan won’t be able to vent heat out as the compressor runs. This can lead to the compressor overheating.

It’s important to remember that even if you don’t hear your compressor hard-starting but suspect a problem for a different reason, the best thing you can do is call in a pro right away, rather than waiting to see if the issue goes away. Neglecting or ignoring repair needs may only give them time to get worse and turn into a major emergency later on down the road.

If you haven’t already scheduled your spring tune-up, don’t worry, it’s not too late! Even though it’s already summer, it’s more important that you have the system tuned up on a regular basis than it is the time of year you have the service done. Give us a call to schedule your next maintenance session today!

AllTech Services, Inc. is a value-based business, with customers being our top priority. Contact us today for reliable air conditioning service in Manassas, VA.

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